IFC and LAPO Microfinance Bank to Expand Access to Microfinance in Nigeria

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The FINANCIAL — IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, on December 21 signed an agreement to work with LAPO Microfinance Bank Ltd to pilot and roll out agent banking that will increase access to financial services for low-income customers, small-scale entrepreneurs and rural communities.

IFC is also providing a 2 billion Naira (approx. $10 million) loan to support LAPO MfB’s lending to micro-entrepreneurs. This is the largest investment IFC has made in a microfinance institution in Sub-Saharan Africa.

As the first local microfinance organization to successfully transform into a fully regulated national microfinance bank, LAPO MfB is a pioneer in the Nigerian microfinance sector. It has grown its client base from 700,000 in 2012 to more than 2 million, across 28 of Nigeria’s 36 states, and it aims to increase its client base to up to 5 million by 2017, according to IFC.

In 2012, IFC provided an 800 million Naira facility to LAPO that has contributed to the expansion of its lending activities. 

Godwin Ehigiamusoe, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of LAPO MfB, said, “LAPO Microfinance Bank has remained committed to its goal of economic empowerment through access to finance. We are taking further steps to increase our reach to more low income earners and more micro, small and medium enterprises. IFC’s long term support has helped us and we hope this new project will lead to enhanced financial access for more financially excluded Nigerians.”

Eme Essien Lore, IFC’s Country Manager for Nigeria, said, “One of IFC’s core objectives is to promote inclusive finance that benefits the small-scale business sector—an engine of inclusive growth and job creation. Our relationship with LAPO MfB will help us reach out to the low income people in Nigeria to improve financial inclusion and help grow the economy.” 

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