A microfinance expert, Mr Aminul Bhuiya, on Monday urged microfinance banks in the country to be more customer-friendly to ensure growth in the industry.
Bhuiya told agency reporters in Lagos that close friendship with their clientele was essential to prevent high loan defaults.
Bhuiya, who is also the Managing Director, Asha Microfinance Ltd., Ikeja, said that special delivery, speed, close communication and customer were essential for a vibrant micro-financing.
“These soft issues go a long way for improving operator-customer relationship.”
“In Asha Microfinance Bank, it is a staff to five customers and the staff must know the clients to their homes.”
“It is the duty of the staff to monitor the proceeds of the customers and render useful advice when necessary.”
“The staff can also suggest another line of business to a customer if the earlier business for which the loan was granted was not working as planned,” Bhuiya said.
He said that from the Asha banking experience, Nigeria was still the best country for micro-enterprise investment.
“Nigerian economy is growing and the country has a lot of investment opportunities.”
“The country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) thrives on micro-enterprises and the sector is the largest employer of labour. Nigerian women are industrious and business-oriented,” he said.
According to Bhuiya, the firm’s shareholders’ fund as at 2013 was N155 million, while the bank’s deposit has hit N649 million in 2014.
He said from 2010 to date, the firm had disbursed more than N3.2 billion to 40,000 customers in Lagos State, adding that the figure was expected to soar in 2015.