By Amaka Agwuegbo
The National Association of Microfinance Banks of Nigeria (NAMFBIN) and Association of Microfinance Bank in Nigeria (AMBN) have merged to further serve the interest of both customers and member banks better.
The harmonization, which was witnessed by officials of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, saw the National Association of Microfinance Banks of Nigeria and the Association of Microfinance Bank in Nigeria become the Association of Microfinance Banks (NAMB), which is the only authorized body to represent microfinance banks in Nigeria.
At an Extra-ordinary General Meeting in Lagos, the National Association of Microfinance Banks of Nigeria (represented by Otunba Olatunde Olowu, FCA, and Mallam Ibrahim Sidi Bamalli) and Association of Microfinance Bank in Nigeria (represented by Mrs. Olubunmi Lawson and Mr. Jude Nosagie), under the supervision of the CBN, signed a Memorandum of Understanding, MoU, pledged to form one association, National Association of Microfinance Banks, NAMB.
According to the MoU, the two associations, having now merged, previous transactions remain void and of no effect where such actions are inimical to the interest and continuous existence of the new association.
The MoU reads in part: â€œThat NAMB shall be the only registered and official association of all microfinance operators in Nigeria with powers to deal with the Central Bank of Nigeria and the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC).â€
â€œThat all assets of the two associations shall from the date of this agreement now become that of NAMB.
â€œThat all licensed MFBs in Nigeria shall, with effect from the date of this deed of agreement, become members of this association upon registration in accordance with the provisions of the constitution of NAMB.
â€œThat with effect from the date of this deed of agreement, all liabilities of the former two associations shall not be binding on the new association except as approved by the national executive council of NAMB.
â€œThat by the formation of NAMB, all members of the former two associations shall by virtue of this deed of agreement, become registered members of NAMB in so far as they have proof of membership of any of the two defunct associations.
â€œThat all registered microfinance banks, MFBs, in Nigeria have, by the execution of this deed by the principal officers of the two former associations, agreed to the enactment of a new constitution which shall be the supreme authority of the microfinance association known as NAMB.
â€œThat, by the execution of the deed, it shall be caused to be conducted an election of new officers to be responsible for the management of NAMB.
â€œThat, after the execution of this deed by the appointed officers with the satisfaction of the CBN, it shall be an offence for any person or group of persons to form another association of microfinance bank operators.
Speaking at the signing of MoU, officials of the CBN tasked the representatives of the former associations to ensure that members were always carried along so as to avoid loss of confidence crisis.
Former president of NAMFBIN, Olatunde Olowu, while urging members to put the past behind them, said NAMB will always dialogue with the regulatory bodies so as to move the association forward.
â€œThough there had been misconception coupled with communication gap between both associations, we must begin to trust each other since we are fighting for the same cause.â€
While praising Olowu for his leadership qualities and sense of purpose which contributed to the smooth merger, the Deputy Director and Head, Microfinance Unit, CBN, Mrs. Ogunnaike, expressed delight over the peaceful manner the harmonization was conducted.
â€œThere is the need for an apex association for MFBs in Nigeria, and we are grateful for the peaceful atmosphere which pervaded this eventâ€.
Meanwhile, a five-man caretaker committee, which is chaired by Mr. Matthias Omeh, has been appointed to oversee the affairs of the new association until its January 29, 2010, general elections that will produce officials to represent the association is conducted.
Other members of the committee are Otunba Olatunde Olowu, Mallam Ibrahim Sidi Bamalli, Mrs. Olubunmi Lawson and Mr. Jude Nosagie.