Mr. Yemi Adeola, MD, Sterling Bank
Sterling Bank Plc has expressed its preparedness to assist Microfinance Banks (MFBs) in the country to access the N220 billion Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise Development Fund (MSMEDF) to be inaugurated this month.
Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Sterling Bank Plc, Mr. Yemi Adeola, said this at a special customers’ forum organised by the bank for MFB operators.
Adeola said the apex bank’s initiative was aimed at strengthening the MFB sub-sector to make it play its primary role of financial support for economic growth.
According to him, Sterling Bank is proactively positioning its key customers in the MFB sub-sector to take advantage of the MSMEDF when it is eventually launched.
Adeola said that Nigerian banks concentrate on big customers, not knowing that 50 to 60 per cent of finance in the economy usually comes from the Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs).
Adeola urged commercial banks to redefine their strategies such that the focus would be on how to boost the economy.
He said the proposed fund seeks to provide wholesale funding for MFBs and for on-lending to micro and medium enterprises.
The Sterling Bank boss listed some other funding opportunities that MFBs can key into to include the N5 billion small business development funds, N4 million renewable energy project as well as the N600 billion agricultural development fund.
According to Adeola, Sterling Bank is committed to channelling some of its products and services towards meeting the business needs of MFBs in the country.
Chief Finance Officer, Sterling Bank, Mr. Abubakar Suleiman, said the bank believed strongly in strategic partnership, saying that Sterling Bank had already gone into partnership with some MFBs in area of electronic business, agricultural finance among others.
“We identify with the brand promise of MFBs and believe there is need to leverage on technology to increase their retail penetration and enable their customers enjoy electronic banking facilities,” he said.