The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has reported 1028 licensed Micro-finance Banks (MfBs) operating in the country as at May 31, 2018.
The breakdown by CBN revealed that Unit MfBs, dominated licensed the sector followed by States and National.
According to CBN, the eight National MfBs are FBN Microfinance Bank Limited, Fortis Microfinance Bank Limited, Microcred Microfinance Bank Limited and NPF Microfinance Bank Plc,
Others are AB Microfinance Bank Limited, Accion Microfinance Bank Limited, Parallex Microfinance Bank Limited and LAPO Microfinance Bank.
Commenting, President of the National Association of Microfinance Banks (NAMB), Mr. Rogers Nwoke said, “The number of MfBs we need depends on the model of Microfinance we are operating.
“Yes, we need more MfBs because of the uneven distribution across the country and most importantly because our financial inclusion growth rate is still low.
“The impact of MfBs can be measured from the statistics of number of people who have access to finance. Today, it is only MfBs which are lending to the Micro- Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in the country.”
Also responding, the Managing Director, Fortis MfBs, Bunmi Lawson, in a chat with Nigerian NewsDirect during the weekend said, MfBs have helped people to access credit in order to grow their businesses and also helped in driving the CBN’s financial inclusion.
According to her, “A lot more can be done by the MfBs in terms of higher impact than the current state in Nigeria.
“MfBs require additional capital and proper corporate governance to move the scale of impact in Nigeria. It is not about the number of licensed MfBs that matters but capital.
“Currently, the total capital of MfBs in Nigeria is not up to one capitalization of First Bank. We need a properly run institution with adequate capital that can boost impact and help more people at the pyramid in growing their businesses.”
Recall that a Unit license MfB requires N20 million minimum paid up capital to operate; State MfBs licensed requires N100 million minimum paid up capital to operate while a National MfB requires N2 billion as minimum paid up capital to operate.
The CBN had announced plans to increase the minimum capital requirement for MfBs with a view to enhancing their performance.
The Bank’s Acting Director, Corporate Communications Department (CCD), Mr. Isaac Okoroafor had said the public would be informed once a decision is reached on the new capital base.
Okoroafor on his twitter handle page, in February said, “Currently, we are looking at stronger Capital Base for MfBs.
“We believe that viable banks are required at this level to promote financial inclusion and Micro and Small Enterprises. As soon as a decision is taken on this, it will be made public.”