Banks Offering Small Business Loans in Nigeria

Banks Offering Small Business Loans in Nigeria

Small Business Loans in Nigeria

From time to time, many businesses need credit to either initiate a venture, scale or support working capital needs. However, it may prove difficult to get the best offer from various banks or financial institutions. Not until recently, small business loans was hard to access for budding entrepreneurs in Nigeria, personal loans had been more accessable.

This article seeks to enlighten us on the various credit options available to small business owners and communicate how one can best position their business for financing. We will look at and compare various loan offers and rates across banks and other financial institutions, putting together the best rate package for small businesses.

The Importance of Small Business Loans

Access to financing is critical for small businesses to thrive and grow. Small business loans provide vital capital to cover expenses like equipment purchases, renovations, hiring, inventory, and marketing. Without adequate funding, many great business ideas never get off the ground.

Loans allow entrepreneurs to invest in growth opportunities at key critical moments. The influx of capital can help turn a fledgling startup into a contending or established player. For existing businesses, loans enable expansions, such as increasing production capacity, adding locations, or developing new products.

The right financing at the right time can be a game changer. In the early days, small loans could fund fundamental operations until the business found its feet. Down the road, larger loans can propel growth into new markets or categories.

Of course, taking on debt also comes with risk. But utilized strategically, small business loans provide the fuel for companies to reach their potential. With thoughtful lending choices, even modest loans can have an outsized impact. The ability to access capital gives small businesses a crucial advantage in turning dreams into reality.

Types of Small Business Loans in Nigeria

Accessing capital is key for Nigerian small businesses to succeed. While there are various financing options, some common small business loan types in Nigeria include:

Term Loans

These provide a lump sum cash injection with repayment in equated monthly installments over a fixed period of 1-5 years generally. Term loans allow investments in business expansion with flexible tenors.

Overdraft Facilities

Banks provide overdraft limits on business accounts allowing utilization of more capital than the account balance for short-term needs. The outstanding amount is charged interest.

Invoice Discounting

Funds can be drawn down against the value of unpaid invoices to ease cash flow gaps. The lender collects when invoices get paid.

Asset Finance

Loans secured against assets like machinery, vehicles, equipment, etc. This finance acquiring essential assets for growth.


Smaller loan amounts catered to very small enterprises, startups, and individuals. Provided by microfinance banks.

Government SME Funds

Development finance initiatives like BOI (Bank of Industry), and CBN MSME funds provide subsidized lending to qualifying enterprises.

Carefully choosing the appropriate loan type based on needs, cost, tenure, and eligibility can provide an invaluable business boost.

Benefits of Choosing Banks for Small Business Loans

Banks offer several advantages that make them a trusted source of small business financing:


Banks provide reliable and regulated lending environments. Their strict due diligence results in lower default rates.

Affordable Rates

Large capital bases allow banks to offer competitive interest rates, especially for secured loans. This makes repayment easier.


Banks provide diverse loan products tailored to business life cycles, whether for short-term working capital or long-term growth.

Expert Guidance

Bank officers help guide appropriate financing options to suit individual business needs and cash flows. Their input is invaluable.


Banks have streamlined systems for efficient underwriting and disbursal. This facilitates access to capital quicker.

Though there are alternative loan sources for small businesses like corporative societies, savings schemes, etc., a combination of security, competitive costs, flexibility, consultative services, and structured processes offered by banks provide small enterprises confidence in fueling their ambitions and knowing investments are in reliable hands.

Eligibility Criteria and Documentation

Update financial records

For an already-existent business, before seeking funding, it’s important to practice basic bookkeeping to ensure you maintain up-to-date financial records.

Many banks will carry out credit analysis by looking at the viability, profitability, and cash flows of the business. This is where the practice of bookkeeping comes in handy.

You will be able to present these records to the banks/financial institutions, and this is the very first step required to be considered for an SME Loan. In today’s digital world, there are now a handful of book-keeping apps that can be used by SMEs, and below are a few out of the many.

  1. QuickBooks for small businesses
  2. Kippa Africa
  3. Pastel
  4. Luca

For a new venture, creating a comprehensive business plan is an important first step. The business plan should outline your business ideas, financial records, and how you intend to use the funds. A live business plan is one useful tool for business plan creation.

Choose the right lender

The next step is to research and scout for potential lenders. Before selecting a lender, it is important to compare their interest rates, loan terms, and eligibility criteria to find the best fit for your business.

All commercial banks offer SME loans in Nigeria. However, their rates and eligibility terms differ.  One thing in common with all of these banks is that you have to become a customer before accessing any of their business loan facilities.

Thus, you may want to have already started banking with them before making applications for a business loan. Below, we will be comparing some of the various terms and rates across banks.

Interest Rates and Terms

BANKRATES/annumOther feesEligibility terms and Loan requirement
ACCESS10%2.90%Click here for loan terms
GTB16%2%Click here for loan terms
FIRSTBANKTBDN/AClick here for loan terms
ZENITHBANK27%1%Click here for loan terms
WEMABANK                  9-31%N/AClick here for loan terms
FIDELITYBANKTBDN/AClick here for loan terms
STANBIC36%1%Click here for loan terms
PROVIDUSTBDN/AClick here for loan terms
KEYSTONETBDN/AClick here for loan terms
UBATBDN/AClick here for loan terms
POLARISTBDN/AClick here for loan terms
STANDARD CHARTEREDTBDN/AClick here for loan terms

Loan Requirement Documents

After the eligibility criteria have been reviewed and terms have been met, all necessary documents can now be put together. Common documents include:

  • Business plan
  • Bank statements (personal and business)
  • Tax identification number (TIN)
  • Business registration documents (CAC certificate)
  • Proof of collateral (if applicable)
  • Credit history report
  • Financial statements (profit and loss, balance sheet)
  • Any other documents specific to the lender’s requirements

The next step will typically be to tender these documents and wait for a credit review.

How to Improve Business Credit Score

The amount of loan disbursed will be based on your credit score, during the credit review process. Thus, it is imperative to have a high credit score to get access to large sums. Here are a few tips for improving your credit score

  • Ensure you pay bills on time because late payments can hurt your scoring.
  • Establish a credit history, you can consider applying for a credit-builder loan to start building a positive credit history.
  • Avoid defaulting on existing loans
  • Do not apply for too much credit, multiple credit applications can send a wrong signal and be passed off as a sign of financial distress.
  • Maintain stable records. Stable employment and residence are highly considered by lenders when assessing your creditworthiness.
  • Lastly, be patient. Improving your credit score takes time, staying consistent with your efforts, and maintaining responsible financial habits.

How to Get a Business Credit Review

Thankfully yes. There are now credit review agencies that help you access your credit health and assign a credit score. They may also provide advisory services on how to improve your credit health. Here are some of the existing ones:

Top Banks Offering Small Business Loans in Nigeria

Bank of Industry (BOI)

BOI takes advantage of our knowledge of the business environment and footprint across 30 Business Offices, spread across the six geopolitical zones including the FCT, to offer SMEs loans with longer tenors (3-5 years) than are generally available and offered at the below market rates; along with a moratorium period of 3-12 months.

These facilities are provided to duly registered business entities operating along the value chains of the various sectors with high potential for entrepreneurship development, employment generation, and skills acquisition.

BOI lending products are tailored to meet the financing needs of SMEs in the short, medium to long term and are delivered in 4 ways:

  • Project-Based Lending
  • Cluster-Based Product Programmes
  • On-lending Facilities through Commercial Banks and Microfinance Banks under the Bottom of the Pyramid (BOP) Programme
  • Special Intervention Funds

BOI’s Micro Enterprise Directorate provides low-interest lending solutions to micro-enterprises in the informal, semi-formal, and formal sectors through the use of intermediary channels to ensure last-mile delivery, reach, and program sustainability.

Development Bank of Nigeria

Our offerings are designed to develop the society around us, supporting local entrepreneurs and empowering small business owners to drive economic growth.

The DBN loan repayment tenure is flexible (up to 10 years with a moratorium period of up to 18 months) and the pricing is pragmatic and referenced to market rates.

We are committed to facilitating increased access to financing for MSMEs.

FCMB (First City Monument Bank)

FCMB, in partnership with Mastercard Foundation, is offering loan support to MSMEs who might have been affected by the pervasive effect of the COVID-19 pandemic to strengthen, revive, and expand old and new businesses.


  • 9% interest rate per annum
  • Flexible repayment tenure of 1 – 12 months (can be extended where applicable)
  • Monthly loan repayment with ease of transfer or collection
  • Easy documentation
  • Speedy loan processing.

Access Bank Nigeria

Access Bank is one of Nigeria’s leading financial institutions, known for its commitment to supporting small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). They offer a range of business loans tailored to meet the specific needs of businesses, including the Access Bank SME Loan and the Creative Sector Loan.

They also offer very competitive rates, with one of the lowest rates across the banking sector. The application process is streamlined, making it accessible for business owners.

Are you a business owner with an Access Bank business account? You may already qualify for an instant business loan of up to ₦10 million!

Here’s how to find out if you qualify:

Via QuickBucks:
– Download the QuickBucks app or visit
– Follow the prompts to register or sign in
– Look for the Instant Business Loan option on the homepage
– If you don’t see the Instant Business Loan option, try any of the following steps:

Call your Access Bank Relationship Manager

Send a WhatsApp message to the Access Bank SME Care line at 0902 407 2068

Send an email to [email protected]

 Guaranty Trust Holding Company (GTCO)

GTCO has earned a reputation for its customer-centric approach and innovative financial solutions. Their loan products, such as the GTCO SME MarketHub Loan, and Quick Credit for Small Businesses are tailored to meet the unique needs of businesses in Nigeria.

GTCO’s application process is efficient and largely digitized and they offer excellent support to borrowers.

With GTCO you shouldn’t have to run around, to run your business. GTCO has a time loan product aimed at financing the working capital (i.e., funds needed for day-to-day needs) of SMEs in the Education (creche, primary & secondary schools) and Healthcare (Hospitals, Retail Pharmacies, and Diagnostic Centres).

What’s in it for You

  • Eligible to pre-qualified customers
  • 1.5% per month (16% per annum)
  • Customers can access up to 50% of their average annual turnover
  • Loan tenure is 6 months (12 months for schools)
  • You can open a corporate account and operate it for 12 months before applying for the credit facility


  • Funds are disbursed instantly
  • Eligible customers can apply via GAPs/GAPslite platform
  • Repayment is structured in two ways: Monthly interest payments and quarterly principal repayments (option is only available for schools) Equal monthly repayment of principal and interest

How to Apply

  • Simply select Loans and click on QuickCredit for Small Business on the GAPs/GAPsLite platform and follow the prompts.

First Bank of Nigeria Limited

First Bank has a long-standing tradition of providing financial solutions to businesses in Nigeria. Their business loans cover various sectors, from agriculture to manufacturing. The FirstBank SME Connect program offers financial support and business advisory services to SMEs.

Their loan application process is straightforward, making it an attractive option for entrepreneurs.

First Banks Small business financing products are.

Zenith Bank Plc

Zenith Bank is renowned for its dedication to business development in Nigeria. They offer a variety of business loan products, including the Zenith Bank SME Loan, designed to meet the needs of small and medium-sized enterprises. The Bank also has a special package for Women-owned Businesses.

SME Grow My Business (SME-GMB) is the bank’s unique and attractive proposition to micro, small, and medium businesses. Are you a small business? If yes, then SME Grow My Business is for you. This is Zenith Bank partnering with you beyond core banking services to support your business growth objectives.

You take full benefit of our several value propositions when you get the SME Grow My Business account for your registered business name or limited liability company.

The SME Loan is structured to provide access to funds for business expansion needs with flexible repayment plans and competitive interest rates for specific business sectors. This loan type has been specially designed to promote expansion in the Beauty/fashion, Confectionery, and Fitfam/healthy living sectors.

MSMEs duly registered in Nigeria.

Business Expansion (Working Capital Requirements, Purchase of Raw Materials, Raw Materials & Infrastructure upgrade)

Beauty, Fashion & Style; Food, Bakery & Confectionery; Health, Fitness & Wellness.

Rate: 14.5% p.a

Maximum Loan Amount: N5M

Loan tenor:  12 to 24 months

Flexible repayments in line with customer’s cash flow from sales/collections into account with Zenith Bank. Management Fee: 1% flat

Acceptance of the BVN covenant, Personal guarantee of the customer, Insurance, Positive Credit Checks, and Company Profile

How to Apply
To apply for the Zenith SME loan, simply visit the nearest Zenith Bank branch and speak to any of our relationship managers.

Wema Bank Plc

Wema Bank, also known as “the innovation bank,” has been making strides in the Nigerian banking sector by embracing technology and offering innovative financial solutions. They have a dedicated focus on supporting SMEs and businesses through various financial products and services.

One such is the ALAT SME Business loan. Through this platform, business loan applications are very digitized and easy to access.

Fidelity Bank Plc

Fidelity Bank is committed to supporting Nigerian businesses with a range of loan products. Their SME Funding Connect program provides access to funding, capacity building, and market linkages for SMEs. Fidelity Bank’s business loans are suitable for startups and established businesses.

Fidelity Bank’s loan products for MSMEs have been tailored to help further ease the poor access burden confronting MSMEs in Nigeria in line with our avowed desire to be always, the go-to bank for funding and allied support for MSMEs powering the growth and development of the Nigerian economy.

These bespoke financing/loan products are detailed below:

S/NLoan ProductAboutFeaturesRequirements
1Commercial Support Short-Term LoanThis is a working capital loan for business owners to meet urgent cash needed for their business expansion. This loan is open to Micro, Small and Medium-scale businesses (MSMEs) with stable cash flow and operating in Lagos, Abuja, Enugu, Imo, Abia, Edo, Kano, Bayelsa, Kwara, Rivers and Niger States.  Customers can get up to ₦20 Million repayable over 6 months to expand their business and meet their cash flow demands.   Women-owned businesses get a special discount interest rate on this loanApplicant’s formal letter of request for the loanBusiness should have at least a 3-month banking relationship with Fidelity Bank or other banks. Applying businesses must be registered
2Commercial Support OverdraftThis overdraft enables business owners to finance their short-term cash flow and working capital needs to expand their business.Customers can get up to ₦10 Million payable over 3 months to expand their business and meet their cash flow demands. Women-owned businesses get a special discount interest rate on this loanApplicant’s formal letter of request for the loanBusiness should have at least a 3-month banking relationship with Fidelity Bank or other banks. Applying businesses must be registered
3Traders Support Facility (TSF)This is a short-term loan designed for small and medium-scale businesses operating the fast-moving consumer goods sector in well-organized clusters around the FESTAC area of Lagos State.The loan is a working capital finance. This loan is available as an overdraft or term loan. Eligible businesses can access term loans and overdrafts of up to N20m and N40m respectively, for up to 12 monthsOnly identified small and medium-scale businesses around the FESTAC area of Lagos State are eligible for this loan. These clusters include Balogun Business Association (BBA), Auto Spare Parts & Machinery Dealers Association (ASPAMDA), Alaba, Tyre Market, APT Jewelries Market, and Orile/Odunade Building and Plumbing Materials Market Access to loans of up to N3m without any collateral   Loans above N3m will require shop documents or a legal mortgage of property outside the market
4Fidelity EduLoanThe Fidelity Eduloan is designed to provide working capital and asset or expansion finance to registered private school- (primary, secondary, and tertiary) owners who require funds for the smooth running of their schools.Eligible private schools can access a short-term loan of up to N30m payable over 3 academic terms. Eligible private schools can get a long-term loan of N150m payable over 9 academic termsThe school must be registered with the relevant state Ministry of Education or the Federal Ministry of Education The school must have been in operation for a minimum of 3 years
5Fidelity Private Medical Support SchemeThe Fidelity Private Medical Support Scheme is a type of loan designed to meet the financing needs of eligible private hospitals. It offers up to N10m to procure drugs and equipment.For drugs, customers can get up to N3m which is payable over 6 months. For equipment, customers can get up to N10m payable over 48 months.The hospital must be registered or incorporated. The hospital must have been in operation for a minimum of 5 years.
6Fidelity Pharmacy Support Facility (FPSF)The Fidelity Pharmacy Support Scheme is a type of loan designed to provide short and medium-term finance to pharmaceutical professionals to grow their businesses such as procuring and replenishing stock for sale.Must be a practicing pharmacist with the relevant license issued by the Pharmacists Registration Council of Nigeria Must have been in business for at least two years. Must be an active member of one of the recognized Pharmaceutical AssociationGet finance up to N10 Million Loan tenor of up to 24 Months Loan to be administered as Term Loan (Monthly repayment of Principal + Interest over the loan tenor)
7Development Finance and Intervention FundsThe Intervention Funds is a loan product designed to provide access to finance for businesses in all sectors. The Intervention Funds provide working capital finance as well as asset, and expansion finance to businesses.Get finance up to N720 Million Loan tenor of up to 6 Years Competitive Interest rates The product finances working capital, asset acquisition, and expansionMust be a registered business. Must have a current account with Fidelity Bank Companies must be properly structured

Stanbic IBTC Bank

Stanbic IBTC Bank offers a suite of business loans to help businesses achieve their financial goals. Their business loans are designed to cater to various industries, and they provide expert advice to borrowers to ensure their success.

Do you need working capital for your business? The SME Loan is a tailored-made lending facility that is available to businesses for meeting working capital needs and achieving business goals.


  • Availability of short-term working capital to customers
  • Bridging short-term financial needs
  • Business growth for customers
  • Applicant’s formal letter of request for loan
  • Satisfactory credit checks from 2 credit bureaus
  • Banking history of at least six months with Stanbic IBTC Bank or 12 months with other Banks
  • Registered enterprise or limited company (Incorporation) Documents to be provided.
  • Tax Identification Number (TIN)
  • Upon loan approval, duly accepted Offer Letter.

Providus Bank

Providus Bank offers various business loan products to support the financial needs of entrepreneurs and businesses in Nigeria. The specific business loans and financing options may include Working capital loans, Asset financing, Trade Capital loans and SME Loans.

If you run or manage a Small or Medium Scale Enterprise (SME), then Keystone is the right place. The SME Banking products leverage partnerships, value-added offerings, cost-saving banking services, etc., to support your business growth. Keystone provides an array of financing options, financial advisory services inclusive, to ensure your business thrives.


Keystone Core Small Business Products

  • GrowBiz Account
  • Corporate Current Account
  • Domiciliary Account
  • Domiciliary Extra Account
  • Asset Financing for MSMEs
  • Keystone School Support Loan
  • Savings Extra Account
  • Trade Finance
  • GrowBeta Business Account
  • Apprentice Settlement Savings (Oga Account)
  • ActivCollect


UBA is a prominent player in Nigeria’s banking sector and offers business loans to entrepreneurs and corporate clients alike. The UBA Business Loan is designed to help businesses thrive, with flexible repayment options and competitive interest rates.

UBA Core Small Business Products

  • Working Capital Loan
  • UBA Asset Finance
  • UBA School Loans
  • UBA Health Loan


Traders who deal in Fast fast-moving consumer goods can now get finance up to N5 Million Naira with the Market Loan Scheme powered by Polaris Bank.

Features and Benefits

  • Access to short-term overdraft i.e., up to 180 days with 30 days clean-up cycle.
  • Competitive Interest rate
  • Reduced collateral requirements.
  • Loan purpose includes stock purchase and replenishment.


  • Applicant must be engaged in the sale of fast-moving consumer goods.
  • Applicant must be a member of a trade/market association in the market.
  • Applicant must have been in line of business for a minimum of 2 years.
  • Applicants must have been in a banking relationship with Polaris Bank or any other reputable bank for at least twelve (12) months evidenced by a statement of account from other banks.

Standard Chartered

Through its Smart Business loan facility, Standard Chartered Bank offers various business loan products tailored to the needs of businesses in Nigeria. These include Business overdrafts, working capital loans, asset financing, and Business expansion loans. Smart Business Loan (SBL) provides you access to loans of up to N20 million for business expansion WITH NO collateral.

The bank’s repayment terms are flexible, and its loans are available to both new and existing clients.

Tips for Choosing the Right Bank for Small Business Loans

Go for well-capitalized tier-1 banks for more competitive rates and higher loan amounts. Review loan options from banks suitable for your business type, like agricultural banks for farmers. Compare interest rates and fees to select the most affordable financing. Prioritize banks with a strong SME focus and specialized officers who can provide guidance.

Look for banks with simple application processes or fintech partnerships that ease access. Visit bank branches to build relationships with officers who will understand your needs. Choose banks offering value-added services like cash management tools to maximize benefits beyond loans. With the right due diligence, you can find a bank that provides the ideal loan products to fund your Nigeria-based small business growth.

The Bottom Line

In today’s world, numerous banks now support MSME’s financing. These loans cater to various sectors and financial needs, from working capital to asset financing and trade finance.

However, it’s essential for business owners to thoroughly research and understand the specific loan offerings, eligibility criteria, and terms of each bank to make informed borrowing decisions.

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