Fortis Microfinance Bank plc has received 5million euro (about N1.14billion) facility from the FMO – the Netherlands Development Finance Company.
Fortis is currently the only microfinance bank with a CBN mobile payment license in Nigeria and second Microfinance Bank to be listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE).
FMO is a Dutch development bank that supports sustainable private sector growth in developing and emerging markets by investing in ambitious entrepreneurs.
Fortis said the 5million euro which is a five year unsecured term loan will be applied for on-lending to boost activities in the microfinance sector of the economy.
Kunle Oketikun, managing director and chief executive officer of Fortis expressed his satisfaction with the transaction saying it will enable his organisation deliver on its core services of making funds available to small scale businesses at the least cost.
He noted, “This loan will ensure that our esteemed customers have access to finance at cheaper rates and longer tenors.”
Linda Broekhuizen Chief Investment Officer (CIO) of FMO in a statement said that Fortis Microfinance Bank Plc is the first Microfinance that his organisation will be providing such support to in Nigeria.
FMO operates on the philosophy that a strong private sector leads to economic and social development, empowering people to employ their skills and improve their quality of life. FMO focuses on three sectors that have high development impact. The sectors include the financial institutions, energy, and agribusinesses with emphasis on food & water. With an investment portfolio of 6.3 billion euro, FMO is one of the largest European bilateral private sector development banks.
Broekhuizen stated that they provided this unique loan to Fortis because Fortis has positioned itself to provide microfinance banking services to support entrepreneurship and the empowerment of the large unbanked population with a focus on (mostly female) micro clients and small enterprises.
The CIO further noted that “Fortis will receive a local currency senior loan equivalent to 5million euro. FMO supports Fortis as one of the leading MFI’s in the country to further implement the client protection principles (‘CPP’) with the aim to become CPP certified. The FMO facility will contribute to further financial inclusion and stimulate the further development of financial services”.
Oketikun noted his organisation’s commitment to the future growth of microfinancing, adding that the reality of micro about microfinancing is in the smallness of the loans and not that the entire operations would be small and confined to a room and parlor. He further stressed that “with the introduction of mobile money, electronic banking and internet banking the services of formal financial institution will soon get all Nigerians irrespective of location.
He urged the Federal Government to assist the process by mandating that a certain fraction of salaries be paid through mobile channels to drive uptake and usage so that in time Nigeria will outrun Kenya, South Africa and Brazil.”
By: Iheanyi Nwachukwu