Uche Usim, Abuja
A new liquidity window for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) has opened as Jaiz Bank Plc is set to disburse $20 million to them before the end of the year.
The Managing Director of the non-interest bank, Hassan Usman, made the disclosure.
He said, “On the SME financing line from the Islamic Cooperation for Development, when you signed publicly that is when you start to do the work and tidy up to make sure the agreement and all the conditions precedent are met.
“We have finished all of that and we have lined up a number of customers desirous of benefiting from this facility and very soon we will start to disburse to these customers.
“We believe that before the end of this year, we would have done if not all of the disbursement of the $20m but substantial part would have gone before the end of this year.”
On the issue of rising Non- Performing Loans (NPLs) in the banking sector, Usman said NPLs had become an issue in the industry.
He, however, added that unlike conventional profit making banks where rising NPLs pose threat to their balance sheets, jaiz Bank was somewhat insulated from such quagmire due to none-profit bearing nature.
He said the bank had commenced a five-year strategic plan to enable it provide better services to its customers.
This, he noted, had increased its visibility in Lagos by opening more branches, adding that this would be extended to other regions of the country.
He said, “We are having a balance sheet size that is growing by 20 per cent year-on-year and our branch network has increased from 27 to 32 and we hope to increase this to 40 branches before the end of the year.”
On funding for agriculture, he said that the Central Bank of Nigeria had reviewed it’s framework of the commercial agricultural credit scheme to accommodate the funding structure of the bank.
He said, “The Central Bank and the Federal Government has been trying to ensure that financing get to the farmers. To address the challenges, they came up with the Anchor Borrower Scheme and similar scheme.
“We are also now going to be participating in the commercial agric scheme of the central bank because they have now fine-tuned the scheme to accommodate our type of financing structure.
“Hitherto, we were not able to access it because it was on interest based but it has been modified and we have a number of customers that will benefit from that.”
On loan recovery, Hassan said the bank tries not to drag customers to court but seek better ways of settling such matters.