By Nume Ekeghe and Sunday Ehigiator
Edfin Microfinance Bank has been launched in Lagos state.
The bank is dedicated exclusively to funding the educational ecosystem in Nigeria, with an aim to positively improve the quality of education in Nigeria by providing the much-needed financial support to the sector.
Addressing journalists, the MD/CEO EdFin MFB, Mrs. Bunmi Lawson, stressed that the bank specialises in education financing.
According to her, “What we do is to finance the education ecosystem. By that we mean, people who owns schools, teachers, parents, students, who need loan for any aspect of education or supplier to schools could be provided with a loan.
“We give the entire aspect of financial services. Also we provide value added services so that schools can transform, grow, increase access to education as well as the quality of education. We are only targeting the education sector.”
When asked about the company’s funding, she said, “Our funding is a total mix. First we have shareholders. One of our largest shareholders is Gray Matters Capital which is an international organisation that has committed about $10 million to this and they have done a similar investment in India.
“So we are hoping to replicate it here in Nigeria. I’m a founder, and there is Mrs. John Fishers who is also a co-founder of this bank.”
“We are capitalised to the tune of N1 billion and we are expected to expand. We also hope that government dedicates an education trust fund either from Lagos State.
“And there is Lagos State employment trust fund as well, there is likewise the CBN NMSDS fund and we are looking at the Development Bank of Nigeria. We do feel that, if you fund education, you are touching all sectors of the Nigerian economy.”
On requirements for obtaining the facility, she said, “The education sector includes private school, and one of the things we have seen is that two-third of Lagosians actually send their children to private school.
“The public school system is inadequate to meet the requirement of the growing population. So the private sector has a lot of role to play to ensure that everyone is educated.
“One of the things we will do is to also support government in public schools, but our primary focus is in the private sector.
“You should have run your school for at least a year, as we are not yet funding start-ups.
“We should see a track record of your school. So basically, those are the major issues plus of cause, you should be a Nigerian, be a registered business. Even if you don’t have approval, and you are in the process of getting that approval, we can fund.
Also present at the event was the Chairman, EdFin MFB, Paul DiLeo, who in his keynote address, said they decided to pilot the idea in Nigeria from Lagos state because, of the “Support and collaboration we have received from Lagos State Government and the Central Bank of Nigeria.”