By Providence Emmanuel
What should be the focus of the MfB subsector this year?
The key areas of focus are for the MfBs players to be able to support the micro traders through granting of micro loans to traders and through structures such as cooperatives. This is a key area where the MfBs sub sector should be focusing on in the New Year and this is also a good development because these are the areas that requires such intervention and would help the economy grow from the grass root level.
The industry is confronted with issues like new minimum capital base, liquidation of some MfBs and others. What is your comment on these issues?
The issue of the past has really eroded confidence in the sub sector but I want to say that all the ongoing developments such as increase in minimum capital base in the sub sector are very positive for the industry. The CBN has really up their game in terms of regulating the industry. First, you will notice there is a new corporate governance code which is very robust. This was not there in the before; this corporate governance code has stated properly what everybody should be doing, in terms of the managing director, executive management. One of the major issues in the industry is corporate governance, it has not been very strong in the industry, but with the new development where CBN has brought out a new code, it is going to help the industry very well. Recapitalization is also good for the industry because the industry needs stronger MfBs, recapitalization would help the MfBs to be able to withstand shocks when there are bad loans or assets. These are positive developments and I think what the CBN has done is positive for the industry. I think the action of the CBN would help the industry in order to restore confidence of the customers.
What is your assessment of the industry’s efforts to address the problem of loan default?
From all indications, defaults has reduced slightly and one of the key things that have helped is the credit bureaus and the credit registry, unlike before where you try to support a customer and you have no previous knowledge about the customer’s credit history. But these days, what MfBs do is that before they try to support a customer they try to go and check the customer’s credit history. Once these things become embedded and become a culture in the industry, it will continue to help the industry in reducing the issue of bad loans in the industry.
Do you support special capital base for MfBs in the rural areas?
In my view, it is important that there is uniformity in the minimum capital required for the banks otherwise, that would create regulatory challenges in terms of monitoring and other things. While I don’t want to kick away the fact that this is a valid point, the rural areas have small capacity but what people should be looking at is how they can have mergers, how people can combine their strength to run their business in that area. More importantly, I also agree that the regulator should still find a way to assist the rural MfBs in terms of how they serve their customers and how they can do business without going down.
What is your advice to the industry for 2019?
The sub sector needs to embrace technology. Technology would help to drive the sector and reduce bad asset. So the sub sector should embrace and invest more in technology.