The need for the federal government to support microfinance banks has been stressed.
The Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Fina Trust Microfinance Bank, Mr. Deji Popoola who made the call said there was need to provide opportunities for operators to be able to access funds for on-lending to the micro, small and medium scale enterprises (MSMEs) in the country.
“Government policy must truly change. Microfinance banks are the ones that are closest to the poorest and yet the government has not made them part of the financial inclusion policy.
“We were expecting that the N220 billion MSMEs Fund was supposed to be done through microfinance banks and using the commercial banks as a conduit pipe. But rather what we had was a total change,” he said.
Popoola maintained that like other jurisdictions of the world, the only sure channels of supporting the MSMEs should be through the MFBs adding that they are the closest to them: “If we truly must support small businesses, it is through microfinance banks. Government has not truly supported microfinance banks.”
Also, the Chairman, Board of Directors, Fina Trust Microfinance Bank Limited, Mr. Ituah Ighodalo explained that the company started as a unit microfinance bank in April 27,2009 with approval-in-principle and got CBN final node on 30th September same year with a share capital less than N80 million.
He added that the bank has grown to be a state licenced MFB with balance sheet size in excess of N1.2 billion. Its cumulative gross earnings has also increased in the last five years to N800 million.
He also said the bank has expanded its business network through branches and mobile electronic wallet.
“We have a total customer base in excess of 5,000 customers. Most significantly, in the last few years, we have taken considerable steps and established infrastructure that have distinguished us in the sub-sector. The cumulative transaction turnover from all our correspondence Banks is in excess of N24 billion.
“In a bid to make financial services available for all and serve our esteem customer better, I am pleased to inform you that the bank has opened a new branch in Agege and also have a plan to open four additional branches in the New Year,” he added.