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How Accion MFB helped customers survive pandemic year

...capitalised above N5bn requirement for national licence

Accion Microfinance Bank Limited has been recognized for putting structures in place that reduced the effects of the pandemic on the staff and customers of the bank.

John Fischer, chairman of the bank, who commended the management at the bank’s annual general meeting in Lagos, also noted how the bank leveraged technology and optimized innovative solutions to improve customer experience and service.

Fischer said the focus of the bank during the year was to help the bank’s loan clients to navigate the financial impact of the pandemic on their businesses.

As a result, the bank extended a grace period to 23,307 of its loan clients for a minimum of 90 days, while those in the educational sector got a grace period of at least 150 days. Additionally, the bank waived interest for five months for loan clients in the educational sector which was among the hardest hit.

Among the financial highlights presented by the chairman include an increase in customers’ deposits by 7.38 percent from N4.013billion to N4.309 billion, and a 2.29% growth in the bank’s total equity grew from N5.246 billion in 2019 to N5.366 billion in 2020.

The bank remained capitalized well above the N5 billion capital base required for a national microfinance bank by regulation by April 2022.

Speaking at the annual general meeting, Taiwo Joda, managing director/CEO, acknowledged that the bank’s customers were particularly affected by the economic consequences of the global pandemic as they largely belong to the vulnerable segment of the society.

According to him, following the sudden lull in economic activities caused by the global lockdown, the bank responded with a mandate to build resilience and impact lives, based on a three-pronged approach of customer education, forbearance and constant availability.

Joda cited the resulting business survival and the intimate relationship cultivated with the bank’s customers as among the key achievements of the year. He also expressed a sense of pride in how the bank kept faith with its core value of giving back to society through various CSR initiatives during the year.

He also alluded to various ways the bank equipped its staff with the necessary tools and resources to face the challenges of the year. He was particularly appreciative of the critical role played by the staff in delivering the bank’s mandate during the year.

Fischer further explained that the bank’s new business model driven by its digital migration increased the bank’s digital footprint across its major touchpoints. As a result, the bank was able to quickly adapt to the new normal and implement initiatives to support the customers’ businesses who continued to transact with the bank through the e-channels and other digital platforms.

The bank also partnered with a reputable e-commerce platform to offer customers an avenue to continue their business without physical limitations. The chairman affirmed that the bank will continue to accelerate investments on alternative channels for financial service delivery.

A major advantage of the bank’s technological readiness was the Accion MfB Konnect Series; an interactive virtual platform that gave customers access to thought leaders and subject matter experts to discuss a wide-range of business and life-enhancing issues. Over 100 business owners received free business trainings during these sessions.

One important area where the bank remained active was in its commitment to Corporate Social Responsibilty. Beneficiaries of the bank’s social intervention programmes during the year cut across different segments of the vulnerable community, including People Living with Disability, cancer survivors, and school pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds.

The chairman expressed pleasure that the bank was in a position to provide the technical and practical resources necessary for its customers and other stakeholders to thrive during the year.

Fischer concluded that with the global economy in a rebound, amidst the resumption of economic activities, the future outlook is positive and bright as the bank remains committed to providing support to its customers and the community it serves.

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