Expert Foresees Bright Future for SMEs, Micro Finance Banks

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Raheem Akingbolu

The Chief Executive Officer of the newly established Money Trust Microfinance Bank, Mr. Chike Memeh, has predicted a bright future for the small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and the micro finance banks in the country in the years ahead.

He also expressed concern over the increasing number of unbanked Nigerians and urged women and youths to key into the microfinance system to transform the economy.

The CEO stated that his company, which opened for business recently, was inaugurated on a unique brand identity and differentiated products as competitive edge in the crowded microfinance industry. According to him, this strategy is in line with the goal of competitive differentiation tactic which is one of the greatest business successes.

Already there are about 950 microfinance firms in Nigeria but money trust which has the mission to be the microfinance of repute is coming with focus on women, youths, health pool funds management, cooperative society partnership plans and others. Its mothers’ unique service called Mom-preneur is targeted women empowerment while its youth service targeted called Youth-preneur is targeted at innovation and enterprise.

“As a multi-purpose microfinance bank recently licensed by CBN and strategically located in Lekki, we want to be a bank that is integrated in our customers’ aspiration by adding value. It is not just prompt services but being a dependable partner customers can rely on”, Memhe said.

Membe, who believed that there is still room for more microfinance in Nigeria considering the population and high level of unbanked estimated at over 30 million of Nigeria’s 170 million population, said Money Trust has tailor-made account types suited for various cadres in the public, stating that the bank’s operations would be largely driven by innovation.

The level of enterprise by Nigerian is amazing. “We have talents in Nigeria and those who design wonderful CIT applications, design shoes and other things but what those entrepreneurs lacked is the support at the micro level. Again some Nigerians are de-emphasizing reliance on government. The youth of today are not looking jobs in the ministry but they want to do something on their own and that is where we come to be partners in those enterprises.”

Memeh further said that banking is not just about money, but at times having somebody who lends advisory support.

He told THISDAY during the unveiling of the company that banking should be more of reforms, innovation and enterprise. “We are not cut out for traditional banking that waits for customers. We like doing things differently. Even when things are good, we would like to spoil it and do it in a different way. We think that Nigeria has developed very fast over the years.

The banking industry has evolved, that is why a number of Nigerian banks are among the top 500 banks in the world. So, that is positive. But we still have a long way to go, especially when you look at merchant banking and micro-banking”.

He further said that on the lower end, there is a lack of depth of microfinance in the country. Microfinance is largely for the poor and unbanked. They hardly have banks. So, what we find in such areas are in the informal transactions like the esusu going on in the markets. There is hardly any bank that supports that sector for growth. That is what MoneyTrust was set up for”, he said.