Citibank — how to get an SME business loan or financing

Citibank Nigeria, is focused on providing a mix of different business financing services.

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Citibank Nigeria Limited, or “Citi”, has had a presence in the country since 1984. The commercial bank is a subsidiary of the bigger Citigroup Inc. — one of the world’s most recognized financial services institutions.

The bank maintains a presence in the key economic states (and territories) of Abia, Delta, FCT (Abuja), Kano, Lagos and Rivers. Its head office is at 27 Kofo Abayomi Street, Victoria Island, Lagos.

Citi Nigeria is mainly focused on business and corporate banking — providing world class financial solutions in the process.

Funding and types of business loans available through Citibank

Corporate and Investment Banking

For Nigerian companies, Citi can leverage its global network — to support expansion plans within and outside the country. Corporate & investment banking, is a key division of Citibank Nigeria. Here, the bank acts as a strategic finance adviser — offering a number of finance products along the way . Solutions on offer include corporate finance, acquisition finance, project finance, structured finance, working capital finance and investment banking.

Trade Solutions

Citi can provide your business with a variety of different trade financing products. Products the bank can provide include term financing, letters of credit, bills for collection and bank guarantees. Citi also has a world class supply chain financing program, that enables businesses to benefit from balance sheet optimization and increased access to alternative finance — while also accessing the efficiency benefits of the bank’s fully automated processing platforms.

Qualifying for a Citibank business loan

Unlike other commercial banks in Nigeria — Citibank generally does not fund smaller businesses or SMEs. Citi tends to focus on larger businesses, or corporate organizations — who often have international operations. This can include foreign companies — looking to do business in Nigeria.

Citi has both general lending criteria and product specific criteria.

Loans will only be extended to companies that can realistically pay back any borrowed funds — shown through having a profitable business (that generates some cash flow).

As well as being profitable, having a business with a good credit history — is also important. Citibank will be unlikely to lend to businesses which have been unable to meet prior debt obligations.

Further general business lending requirements may include:

  • Having a registered business or company — with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC)
  • Having a business or corporate bank account
  • Been trading for some time (1-3 years minimum)
  • Must have a good Credit Bureau Report — with no unpaid obligations or bad debt
  • Being an active customer of the bank

Citi will only be able to finance registered companies. Unregistered businesses are ineligible for business funding.

Those looking for alternative finance options — can consider applying for a loan through SukFin.

How to apply for a Citibank business loan

Before you make a business loan application, it’s wise to review some of the bank’s finance products — to check if they are both suitable for your business and if you meet minimum funding requirements. You can make a financing inquiry via phone or email.

Actual loan applications, are typically made in-person at a relevant Citibank branch. Citi has branches in major economic cities such as Abuja, Kano and Lagos.

Any loan application will commonly involve you filling in a form — detailing your trading history and the purpose of the loan. You may also be asked for supporting documentation where relevant. Your application will be assessed based on Citibank lending guidelines.

Should your application be approved — Citi will issue you with an approval letter. Approval letters stipulate the terms and conditions attached to a loan — as well as the procedure for loan disbursement.

A checklist of important documentation, that may be requested includes:

  • Completed application form
  • Company profile
  • Business plan
  • Cash flow budget
  • Bank statements (12 months)
  • Audited financial accounts
  • Certificate of Incorporation
  • Valid means of identification (driving license, passport, voters card)
  • Proof of address
  • Details of collateral offered (if any)

Note. The credit facility in question, determines the actual documents you will be asked to provide.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

How long will it take before receiving funds from Citibank?

The finance product applied for, determines the time it takes for a loan application to be processed and approved. Unsurprisingly, more complex funding arrangements — tend to have longer processing times.

How long do I have to pay back a Citibank loan?

Citibank offers companies tailored funding solutions. This means that things like repayment plans, can be structured to suit your business needs.

How much can I borrow from Citibank?

Citibank, being a bank with global reach, is able to fund almost any business. Your capacity to repay borrowed funds, is the primary factor that influences how much you can borrow.

What is the interest rate charged on a Citibank loan?

The interest rates applied to Citibank finance products differ. Your company trading history, as well as the actual credit facility sought — determine borrowing rates.

Does Citibank require collateral?

Citibank may or may not require collateral — to fund your business. However, bigger loans requests almost always require some form of collateral.

Acceptable collateral may include:

  • Obligations of the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN Bonds, FGN Eurobonds, FGN Treasury Bills etc.)
  • Obligations of state governments or agencies of the Federal Government of Nigeria
  • Other non-government debt instruments
  • Physical assets e.g. real property
  • Third party guarantors (or collateral)

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