Unity Bank — how to get an SME business loan or financing

Unity Bank can meet the funding requirements of your Nigerian Business.

See your finance options

Tell us how much you want to borrow and SukFin will find the best lenders in Nigeria for you.

Get Funding

Unity Bank is one of Nigeria’s leading commercial banks — founded in 2006. It has its headquarters in Victoria Island, Lagos, and has a further 200 business offices — spread throughout the country.

The Bank offers a wide range of financial services — to individuals, businesses and organizations. Unity has a particular focus on SMEs and Agribusiness.

Funding and types of business loans available through Unity Bank

Inventory Financing

Credit facilities offered through Unity Bank’s inventory financing division — are aimed at businesses focused on the retail, and consumer aspect of the Nigerian economy. Here, Unity mainly finances manufactured products, raw materials and general goods. Any credit extended comes with covenants.

Overdraft

Business overdrafts are a form of working capital finance. It allows you to overdraw your account, up to a certain pre-defined limit and for a specific period of time. It’s a great way to maintain your cash flow, and it gives you a backup source of funds — for any emergency expenses. You can borrow funds for up to one year.

Letters of Credit

Unity Bank offers trade financing services, in the form of a letter of credit (LC). This enables Nigerian importers and trading companies, to import from almost anywhere in the world. Collateral may or may not be requested, before Unity issues the LC.

Unity Farmers Co-operative Leasing Scheme

This credit facility is targeted at farm cooperative societies. The facility is a form of asset financing — with which farmers can acquire machinery. To be eligible, cooperatives must have been registered for at least 6 months. As collateral, 20% of the assets value must be saved in your account. The facility tenor ranges from 1 to 2 years.

Unity Farmers Co-operative Finance Scheme

Through this scheme, Unity Bank meets the funding requirements of farmers groups. The credit facility covers the production, processing and marketing of agricultural commodities — for example, crops, livestock and fish. Funds can be borrowed for up to 24 months.

Unity Industrial Input Farmers Scheme

This scheme mainly provides funds for commercial farmers. In other words, agribusinesses that operate on a large scale — producing commodities or marketing them. A forward contract may be required for this facility. The amount lent, depends on your capacity to repay. You can borrow funds for an initial 1 year period (renewable afterwards).

Qualifying for a Unity Bank business loan

To get a loan with Unity Bank — you will need to meet several different lending criteria.

Lending criteria fall into two categories. Firstly, you have general lending criteria — that apply to all credit facilities that Unity offer. Secondly, you have the product specific criteria.

The main two general lending requirements are — having a profitable business and having a good credit history. These are demonstrated by — having a positive net monthly cash flow and having no previous bad debt obligations.

Good credit history is vital, especially when it comes to getting an unsecured loan. For secured loans, credit history plays a slightly less important role — as you would be offering a valuable asset as collateral.

Other general 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

Unity Bank cannot lend to private individuals, or to unregistered businesses. So you will need to register your company with the CAC — to get business financing.

If you do not want to register your business, or your company does not have enough documented trading history (to get a business loan) — you can consider a personal loan. Unity has a few different personal loan and salary advance products — that you may be able to use for business purposes.

Applying for a loan with SukFin is a further option. SukFin can provide you with alternative funding options.

How to apply for a Unity Bank business loan

Applying for a Unity Bank loan, first involves researching the finance products available — not every loan product is suitable for your business needs. Further, depending on your business circumstances, you may not qualify for certain loan products. It’s best to only apply for a loan — when you have a good chance of being approved.

If you are unsure of the right product, or if you meet the minimum lending requirements, you can get In contact with Unity via phone or email. The Bank will then be able to advise you appropriately.

Actually making an application, typically involves going to a relevant bank branch and speaking to an adviser. There, you will be asked to fill in an application form — detailing your business, its trading history and the purpose of the loan.

This application form and any requested supporting documentation, is what Unity Bank primarily uses to assess your loan request. Assessment will be done in accordance with Unity Bank lending guidelines.

Being approved for a loan, will result in you being issued an offer letter. This offer letter will highlight any terms and conditions, that you are required to meet, before the loan can be disbursed.

As part of any application, some of the basic documentation that could 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)

Based on the credit facility applied for — Unity Bank may ask for more or less than the above.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

How long will it take before receiving funds from Unity Bank?

Smaller loan amounts are likely to be disbursed relatively quickly. The credit facility in question, also influences the time it takes to receive approved funds.

How long do I have to pay back a Unity Bank loan?

For most credit facilities, Unity Bank has a flexible repayment structure. Unity can fund you both for the short and long-term.

How much can I borrow from Unity Bank?

Your capacity to repay borrowed funds, determines the amount of money Unity Bank will lend to you. Accordingly, bigger companies have larger borrowing limits.

What is the interest rate charged on a Unity Bank loan?

Unity Bank interest rates differ. Actual borrowing rates are determined by your trading history, and the credit facility of interest.

Does Unity Bank require collateral?

Collateral is normally required, when borrowing money from Unity Bank. As the bank can provide tailored finance solutions, there may be times when you can get a loan without collateral.

Examples of collateral, which the bank may accept includes:

  • 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)

SukFin — Every type of finance for every kind of business

We help SMEs in Nigeria find finance — as fast as possible