As of December 2012, we have active 75,000 customers. Of that numbers, we have more female who are also borrowing clients. Our loan portfolio to these numbers of persons is N1.3 billion. We disbursed a total of N1.771.5 billion to 25,127 persons in 2012, and out of which 60 percent of the beneficiaries are women also.
Loans for us are not easy because we approach MFB with a very good understanding. Our background in the micro-finance industry is very rich because we are opportune to participate in micro-finance training programmes within and outside the country, and so we adopt best practices in our model of operations. Our models are well designed so that we don’t run into any problem of loan recovery. How do we do this? First of all, all our loan clients undergo a kind of capacity building programme for two to five days, depending on the awareness the client has.
These capacity building programme is to enable the bank understand the nature of business the client is into as well as for the client to also understand what this product is all about. This budding period helps us to achieve a bond or the understanding between the client and the bank. This period also helps us to filter out those that see us as an organisation that is out to help them and those that think that it is an opportunity to have their share of the so-called national cake. Also, we don’t disburse funds hastily and if we do that it will make loan recovery to become difficult. So, that has helped us in our recovery drives.
Recent grant by a foreign organisation
In the history of micro-finance banking business in Nigeria, we have had course to partner different agencies. Shell Petroleum Development Company is one of them and Chevron under their Global MoU. Recently, we have caused to work for the Africa Development Foundation, an agency of the government of the United States of America, to basically support fish farming projects in Ekpan community, in Uwvie Local Government Area of Delta State. The total fund expected is $250,000, which is approximately about N40 million. The grant comes in two phases. The first phase is about $7,250, which is N7.350 million. The programme is aimed at building the capacity of Wetland to be able to provide credit facilities to these farmers in terms of loan to be able to improve on their capacity in fish farming activities. By so doing, they will improve on their living standard and also create job opportunities to a lot of jobless youths in the state. The more we have these unemployed youths with us the more unsafe the environment is to the society.
About the grant
This is a very fantastic thing for any institution to consider doing. In the past, multi-national organisations have done it and we are also seeing the impact on the people. I must say that we are very excited with the grant and it is going to build our capacity to impact on the lives of the people we do business with. Multi-national companies like Shell Petroleum Development Company and Chevron under their Global MoU have provided similar grants for us to provide credit facilities to their host communities.
Plans for the next five year
Presently, we are a state licensed micro-finance bank and in the next five years we want to be among the national micro-finance banks in the country. We want to take our products and services outside Delta State. We are at the moment very close to national micro-finance bank because our shareholders’ funds as of today is over a billion naira, and we need two billion naira to get there. Delta State government in line with the CBN policy directive that certain percentage of state governments’ annual budget be set aside to empower micro-finance bank for onward lending to the economically active poor has through its directorate of micro-credit scheme been very helpful in this direction. What is your take on this?
The Delta State government has done so much in the area of financial support in terms of micro- credit to its citizens, and the beautiful thing is that the government partners the micro-finance banks in the state in the delivery of these services. If you looked at it critically, it is an empowerment to the micro-finance banks in the state. The fund the state government has disbursed to the end users in terms of micro-credits through micro-finance banks in the state has given some leverage to the sector.