Fortis Microfinance Bank Plc (Fortis MFB), which was listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) last year, has said its robust business model and service delivery will boost the financial inclusion agenda of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Fortis MFB, Mr. Kunle Oketikun, stated this at the seventh Annual Banking and Finance Conference held recently in Abuja recently.
He described microfinance banks as very strong vehicles through which the full objectives of financial inclusion programme will be achieved.
According to him, given efficient combination of the current licensed microfinance banks, the available deposit money banks, and the introduction of electronic and mobile channels financial products delivery, Nigeria will sooner than expected outperform Kenya and South Africa in the drive to include more people in the economic pyramid.
Oketikun said it was wrong for people to always associate microfinance bank operations with the character of a small one-room business.
“There is a lot of misconception about the practice of Microfinance in Nigeria, particularly the feeling that microfinance institutions should operate within seating rooms of individuals. This is not correct as most microfinance banks in other climes are actually doing appreciable volumes,” he said.
The Fortis boss further revealed that banks like Grammen bank in Bangladesh, Mibanko in Peru, Compatamos in Mexico, SKS in India, Equity Bank in Kenya, among others do much more volumes and a much higher customer base than some conventional banks in Nigeria.
He explained that the only thing really micro about micro financing was in the smallness of the loans and not that the entire operations would be small and confined to a room and parlor.
He noted that Fortis MFB had not only taken a firm root in the microfinance industry, but it is also at the leading edge of the mobile money business.