Akpan Etukudoh Asare
The Cross River State government has established its first microfinance bank and the state governor, Prof Ben Ayade has released N500 Million as operational start to enable it commence business immediately.
Ayade said that the bank will bolster the industrialisation of the state and also give verve and create financial inclusion among the teeming populace, who by virtue of their financial background may not qualify for the traditional commercial bank facilities.
He spoke at the Bank’s Head office alongade Ndidem Usang Iso Road Calabar, maintained that setting up the financial institution was premised on the fact that most citizens who are into petty trading and farming are lowly collateralized, hence
He said the bank would provide for those who ordinarily are technically challenged in terms of access to loans.
Ayade disclosed that the only criterion for loans through the bank is either through ownership of farmland, a market stand or being a Civil Servant.
“The interest regime ranges from zero to five percent, this bank is not for interest or intended to make money but targeted at having women, the vulnerable and the physically challenged to encourage them that there is always a banking sector that can provide for them.
“we are taking care of that critical area where over 70 percent of Cross River population is situated, who ordinarily will not benefit from commercial banks,” adding that, “this newly commissioned bank will ensure you become stable while creating an alternative income rather than depending on the State Government.”
Chairman, National Association of Microfinance Banks in Nigeria, John Owan said “we are happy to have a new baby born into the industry as all microfinance banks in Cross River before now were privately owned,” pointing out that, “having seen the state-of-the-art facilities here, I have no doubt that those who patronise this bank will not regret doing so.”