21 November 2014, Lagos – Nigeria’s apex bank, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has given nod to a Maritime Microfinance Bank (MMB) to start operation next month. Described as the first financial institution fully dedicated to servicing the maritime industry in the country, MMB is expected to formally open its doors to the public on December 1, 2014.
Confirming the development, a promoter of the new bank, Mr. Bolaji Akinola said, the MMB was set up to fill a yawning gap within the financial services industry by offering small loans or micro-loans, to maritime industry operators and workers who are unable to access conventional loan services.
According to Akinola who is also one of the directors of the MMB, this is the starting point for us. We are embarking on a revolution in the provision of financial solutions for the maritime industry. We are starting as a unit micro-finance bank but our vision is to evolve into a full fledge commercial bank fully dedicated to the growth and development of the maritime industry.
He maintained that the birth of MMB was a culmination of several years of research and team work between several well-meaning people who are passionate about growing the maritime industry.
Giving an insight into the operations of the new financial institution he said MMB would use small and microloans to develop small businesses based on their existing talents and skill sets.
He said: “Dockworkers, freight forwarders, truckers, port workers, staff of private companies and government organisations who mostly have challenges accessing small loans can now heave a sigh of relief as the bank for them has finally come. Access to finance is an invaluable element that brings growth and development to any sector of the economy. It also helps in realizing full economic capabilities of the people.
“As part of the agenda for full development of the maritime sector, access to finance has been identified by the stakeholders in the industry as one of the key elements that needs to be considered”.
According to him, the bank will build exceptional value for its clients by demonstrating incomparable care for their needs and increasing their financial wealth by providing tailored solutions to meet their financial needs and protecting their assets. We are deploying the latest banking technology and have developed very exceptional financial solutions that will help our clients grow. These are in addition to the regular banking products which include savings account, current account, salary account and co-operative account among others.
The promoter explained that micro, small and medium enterprises in the maritime industry can now easily access loan facilities to grow their businesses through the new establishment of the new financial institution in the maritime industry.
*John Iwori – Thisday