By Amaka Agwuegbo
The Lagos State Association of Microfinance Banks has entered into partnership withÂ PROBANK, a Greek banking group, to create a common software for microfinance banks in the country.
Chairman of the Association, Mr. Adenekan, said â€œThe aim of the partnership was to reduce, to the barest minimum, the numerous problems encountered by customers in the various microfinance and commercial banks.
â€œWe have always had problems of clearing our cheques among ourselves and between commercial banks, which prompted us to set up a committee to look at the best way to resolve this problem.
â€œWe have already made contacts with some commercial banks and Greece-based PROBANK to look at ways to harmonise a software that will link all MFBs by enabling us to clear cheques among ourselves and with commercial banks
PROBANK is a Greek banking service group with headquarters in Athens, the national capital and has hundreds of branches across Greece.
It was established in July 2001, following the receipt of licenses that were granted by the Bank of Greece, the Greek Central Bank, in May 2001.
The first branch was established in November 2001 and was founded with initial capital of 27 billion Greek Drachmas (about 80 million Euros). PROBANKâ€™s multi-shareholder structure constitutes of 2,740 shareholders which are private individuals, corporate institutions and PROBANK employees, with no shareholder holding more than 3.5 per cent of the shares issued.
The primary goals of PROBANK are the provision of high quality service, the enhancement of shareholder value, the development and maintenance of a human and professional working environment.
Adenekan said the association is also discussing with an a foreign company to see how equity funding of microfinance banks can be improved on.
According to the chairman, â€œWe are working with an undisclosed foreign company to see how our equity funding can be improved. All I can say now is that we would be meeting with them towards the end of the month to discuss how they can assist us in equity funding.â€
The chairman said that the association set up a committee, which was reinaugurated last week, to look into the cases of distressed microfinance bank and prevent future occurrence.
In his words, â€˜the committee members are to come up with ways of assisting MFBs so as to reduce the number of distressed banks.â€™
He expressed the possibility of an election being held by August to elect new executives to run the affairs of the association.