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German bank to invest in Nigeria’s microfinance sector

Germany’s BANK IM BISTUM ESSEN has indicated interest to invest in Nigeria’s microfinance sector through Enugu-based Umu-chinemere Pro-Credit Micro Finance Bank Nigeria (UPMFB) Limited.

Founded by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Ruhr, Germany, in 1966 and with a current investment profile of 150 million Euros, BANK IM BISTUM ESSEN is a cooperative specialist bank which is making a move to participate in the equity financing of Nigerian MFIs.

A 2-man delegation of the German Bank, led by the Chairman/CEO, Heinz-Peter Heidrich, met with UPMFB management team at UPMFB head office in Enugu on a fact-finding mission to begin the move to collaborating with the Nigerian bank on investment and partnership or assistance in the Nigerian microfinance sector.

In a press release signed by UPMFB’s Public/Media Relations Officer, Sir Abuchi Anueyiagu, the delegation’s spokesman and director Foreign Clients/Sustainable Investment, Mr. Michael P. Sommer, said “We want to invest in Nigeria’s micro-finance sector. Our bank is church oriented and we are doing real investment in MFIs and we’re exploring ways of investing in Umuchinemere Pro-Credit Micro Finance Bank.”

Sommer and Heidrich who were impressed with the information about the performance of UPMFB, disclosed that they have invested in Latin America and were now looking towards investing in Africa, with Nigeria as their first entry point contact in Africa.
“We are not branch oriented but work more in institutional building. Though we are a small bank and don’t engage in capacity building, but we are working in re-financing the microfinance sector.

“We are here to first discuss person to person, and our philosophy is based on the social doctrine of the church, not to maximize profit. We are not profit oriented but need funds for sustainability.”

In her response, the Managing Director of Umuchinemere Pro-Credit Micro Finance Bank, Mrs. Nnenna Maria Ekete, told the German bank delegation that though her bank is credible, has the market and the ability to manage funds, but its major constraint remains paucity of fund for expansion, thereby needing increase in its equity funding to enhance its progression rate.

“There is future in investing in UPMFB because we’re making progress, are declaring dividends and have a good management, regardless of the world financial crisis.”

Ekete said since both banks shared common objective, the German bank was welcomed to participate in the equity holding of UPMFB to help the bank grow, stressing that it has persons of proven integrity in its Board, with most of them being knowledgeable in financial sector.


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