Financial Inclusion Will Support Poverty Alleviation, Says Accion CEO

15 Jul 2013

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Mrs. Bunmi Lawson, MD, Accion Microfinance Bank Limited

By Obinna Chima

The Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Accion Microfinance Bank Limited (MFB), Mrs. Bunmi Lawson, has declared that the ongoing drive towards financial inclusion in the country would help lift a lot of people out of poverty.

Lawson said this in a chat, when she led some senior management officials of her organisation to THISDAY’s corporate head office in Lagos at the weekend. According to her, although a lot of people work really hard to move out of the cycle of poverty, they need financial services to be able to achieve that.

Lawson added: “Accion drives financial inclusion because we believe that it will help people come out of poverty. That is why Accion MFB was established in Nigeria. In Nigeria, we have been in existence since 2007.

“Till date, we have disbursed over N18 billion loans to micro-entrepreneurs. Our total active loans performing till date is N2.3 billion. We have a customers’ base of 110,000 clients, of which active borrowers was about 16,300 as at June. So in those five years, we have been able to really grow. So we are adequately capitalised.

“Our total asset is about N3.3 billion, while we have shareholders’ funds of N2.2 billion. Currently we have 19 branches, 19 fully operational and all in market places. We truly serve micro-entrepreneurs. We provide loans from N50,000 upward. The highest single loan we have granted so far is about N3 million because we truly focus on micro entrepreneurs. Our average loan size is about N130,000. So that is what we do and that is what we truly focus on.”

The Accion MFB boss however stressed that there was still a lot to be done for the development of the microfinance banking sector in the country. She argued that a lot of people were still outside the banking system, adding that there was need for increased awareness to bring them into the financial system.

“Even as I tell you that we have about 120,000 customers in Lagos, when you look at the population of Lagos alone, we have 18 million people and if those that are micro-entrepreneurs are 10 per cent of that population, 10 per cent gives you 1.8 million.

“So when you compare 120, 000 to 1.8 million, there is still a wide gap. Also there is limited awareness. MFBs can’t afford all the adverts and public relations that commercial banks do, so people tend not to have heard what MFBs are doing,” she added.

Tags: Featured, Nigeria, Business, Bunmi Lawson, Accion Microfinance Bank Limited

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