Intercontinental Bank Plc and Blue Financial Services of South Africa have finally concluded arrangement to float a N3 billion microfinance Bank in Nigeria subject to the Central Bank of Nigeria endorsement.
The micro finance outfit named Blue Intercontinental Microfinance Bank is billed to take off as soon as approvals are received from the regulatory authorities.
Group Managing Director/CEO, Intercontinental Bank Plc, Dr. Erastus Akingblola disclosed this at a press briefing in Lagos last week, saying “we are in the threshold of entering into another strategic partnership that will position our bank in good stead in the microfinance sub sector. Our bank decided to venture into the microfinance bank segment of the financial services industry in partnership with a multinational player in this turf, Blue Financial services of South Africa.”
He stated that the venture has been long to materialize because it is inline with the tradition of the bank to ensure that standards are not compromised.
According to him “Intercontinental Bank entered into the venture because of the huge window of opportunities in the Nigerian financial industry today. We are in consonance with and fully subscribe to the federal government and Central Bank’s microfinance policy which is aimed at growing the informal sector of the Nigerian economy. We believe that the participation of established financial institutions like Intercontinental Bank in micro finance will not only deepen activity in this key sector but also enhance the accessibility of low cost credits to a greater number of our people.”
Commenting on the gains to
be derived from the establishment of the micro finance outfit he said “A well structured micro finance sector operated by professionals is capable of lifting the economy especially at the SME sector. It would energise and provide financial leeway for many Nigerians who ordinarily would not have access to formal financial market.”
Akingbola condemned the situation where some micro finance institutions lend up to N5 million worth of loan to individuals or groups while the actual beneficiaries do not get any thing. “In our own case, the artisans, market women, cooperatives, and even unemployed people will be the actual beneficiaries. This is why we are partnering with an operator with tested business model and experience in several countries to minimize our risks and deliver sustainable financial services at micro level to Nigerians.”
Concerning the operations of the micro finance outfit, the Intercontinental Bank boss said that at the on set the bank’s structures will be used as its branches nationwide would be able to cover all the regions of the country. He noted that the rural people are suppose to access this funds and that is why they are partnering with the South African specialist in micro financing.
Blue Financial Services Company is a micro finance institution listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE), Altx Exchange that offers innovative credit solutions to formally employed but under banked employees. The company currently operates in eight African countries with 150 branches and 800 employees. The company is a specialist credit provider with comprehensive industry knowledge.
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