STERLING Bank Plc has recorded an increase in the minimum amount of its online ‘quick cash’ from N3,000 to N10,000. According to the bank, this followed the success of its social lender scheme introduced last year as well the impressive response from the beneficiaries who are mainly members of the on-line community.
The bank said, in a statement, that it also targets 6000 beneficiaries for the current year. Last year, the bank said it disbursed more than N5 million to more than 2000 online customers within six months of its introduction. More than 90 percent of the amount advanced has been paid back by the beneficiaries, it stated.
Social lender, according to the bank, is a modified peer-to- peer lending solution using the social media platforms through which micro-credit is offered to members of these communities. The scheme provides a platform for online followers who are customers of Sterling Bank to obtain these monies via social media channels such as Facebook and Twitter.
Shina Atilola, group head, strategy and communications of the bank, said the scheme was repackaged because of its success, the quality of feedback from members of the on-line community and the impressive pay back rate of the beneficiaries. He explained that the bank had taken the decision to increase the minimum amount for lending because “our target market has been faithful to the terms of the agreements reached during the launch phase, they have been faithful with repayment and this has inspired confidence.”
The scheme, according to Atilola, had been integrated with existing financial structures of the bank such that users of the online platform now access quick cash by normal methods of withdrawing cash. These funds, according to him, are easy to access and delivered via convenient platforms. “Our friends on Facebook or Twitter can apply for quick cash by visiting the Social Lender site. Users who request for the loans on the Social Lender platform are rated by the algorithm that calculates their social reputation using various criteria; based on this, the request is either granted or rejected.”
He said with the introduction of the scheme, the bank was making it easier for potential and existing customers to bridge short term financing needs.
Fidelity Bank Disburses N80 Million of MSME Fund
FIDELITY Bank Plc has disbursed a total of N80 million out of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN’s, N220 billion micro, small and medium scale enterprise, MSME, development fund, to three of its customers. The beneficiaries were Pedro Plastics Nigeria Limited, Petters & Daniels Industries Limited and F.N. Uzo-Best Nigeria Limited.
The bank said the customers qualified for the intervention fund having met all the criteria set by the CBN. Nnamdi Okonkwo, managing director, Fidelity Bank, urged the MSME operators to take advantage of the fund to expand their businesses. He pointed out that the fund was not only special for the economy, the CBN, the government and the banking industry, but also special to Fidelity Bank.
“Anything that has to do with micro, medium and small scale enterprises, Fidelity Bank’s name becomes a recurring decimal. This is because it is an area some people think is too risky to support. We make bold to say that with proper dimensioning of the risk involved in supporting this area, with proper planning, proper focus and development of special products, we at Fidelity Bank are proud to say we took this sector head on, and we haven’t had a bad experience,” Okonkwo said.
According to the MD, the whole idea of the N220billion MSME fund was to make funds available to the deprived MSME sector of the area economy. He noted the country has about 17 million registered SMEs, saying that in most countries, SMEs sometimes accounted for more than 70 percent of businesses. “Yet in developing economies like Nigeria, SMEs suffer from lack of access to finance. It was in recognition of this that the N220 billion was set up, with special focus for people that play in agriculture, manufacturing, renewable energy and other areas that would drive development in the economy. The good news is that one person can borrow as much as N50 million, with an interest rate of nine per cent and the MSME operator can borrow for a maximum of five years.
“The beneficiaries today are employers working hard to provide employment to this economy, to manufacture things that ordinarily we would be importing. We at Fidelity Bank believe that it is not just about running banking to make profit, we just support operators of small businesses. The fund will raise their capacity to do business and make them competitive,” Okonkwo said.
— Mar. 16, 2015 @ 01:00 GMT