Hasal Microfinance Bank Limited has disbursed loans totalling N50bn to about 60,000 small businesses in Nigeria.
According to the firm’s Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Rogers Nwoke, the loans were mainly disbursed to small business owners who could not access funds from the Deposit Money Banks.
Nwoke, who doubles as the President of the National Association of Microfinance Banks, disclosed this on the occasion of Hasal’s 10th anniversary/walk for health programme recently in Abuja, adding that the N50bn was disbursed during a period of 10 years.
He said, “Small businesses and low-income earners find it difficult to get loans because when they have between N5,000 and N10,000 to open a savings account, they go to the DMBs. They find it tough to access loans because they don’t patronise the MFBs.
“In the last 10 years, we have disbursed almost N50bn to about 60,000 people. We have a customer base of more than 200,000. For those who have taken loans and still taking loans, we have recorded close to 60,000 people.
Nwoke added, “So, not just Hasal, many MFBs are giving out loans to small businesses across the country. And as a matter of fact, I am also the President of the National Association of Microfinance Banks and so I am speaking from a position of knowledge and authority.”
He said microfinance banks had been supportive of small businesses in Nigeria and urged small and medium entrepreneurs to support the MFBs across the country.
He said, “The MFBs are established to include everybody into the national financial system. For those who have been excluded and feel that the big Deposit Money Banks do not care for them, let them come to microfinance banks. Our job is to provide banking services to people who want those small loans that the big banks cannot give.
“The MFBs are in a position to give loans. Small business owners should stop rushing to where it would be difficult to access loans for their businesses. When you look for, say N100,000 or N200,000 from a commercial bank, they will tell you to go to a micro-finance bank. So, small businesses need to understand this.”
On the walk for health programme, Nwoke said, “Through this exercise, we are saying you should walk for your heart and health. We realise that people understand work but don’t understand the significance of walking. If you work from Monday to Friday, on Saturday, take a walk around your environment because it is good for the heart and your health.
“We hope to continue to do this, but we chose the occasion of our 10th anniversary to inaugurate it as a corporate social responsibility initiative for not just our customers, but for as many that wish to join in this exercise.”