The Managing Director and Chief Executive of Bank of Industry, Mr Rasheed Olaoluwa, has put the bank’s disbursement to the Small and Medium Enterprises this year at N4.7 billion.
When compared to last year’s disbursement of N1.85billion, this year’s figure of N4.7bn represents an increase of N2.85 billion or about 150 per cent.
Olaoluwa disclosed this on the sidelines of signing of a tripartite agreement for the establishment of the Kaduna State Entrepreneurship Programme between BOI, the Kaduna State Government and the Kaduna Business School.
He attributed the performance of the bank in the SME sub-sector to the establishment of the SME Directorate and other initiatives aimed at promoting small businesses across the country.
Similarly, the development banking expert explained that within the year under review, the bank introduced a number of SME specific products with a view to meeting the individual demands of small business operators.
He said: “There is an intensive focus on supporting SMEs. Before last year, we didn’t have directorate for SMEs. Now we have a directorate where all they do every day is SMEs and that has really worked. Secondly we used to have 7 offices in Nigeria, but as I speak, we have fifteen. In one or two months, we are also going to open additional one in Sokoto state.
“We have also introduced a number of SME specific funds. For instance, we have cottage, agro-processing fund for people who want to convert agricultural products to foods. We have also introduced fashion fund specifically for SMEs in fashion industry. The idea is, we don’t want to treat all SMEs as being the same.
Apart from that, the MD explained that the identification of 35 different clusters by the bank also improved its ability to understand clearly the dynamic of small business operators.
He clarified further: “We have also identified 35 different clusters and that has improved our ability to understand clearly the dynamics of each segment and be able to tailor our solutions. Beyond that, we also believe that, the internal process in the bank has also improved significantly. A lot of things used to be done manually in the past, now have automated our processes.
“The credit process is faster. Wherever, I am , if a customer has satisfied all our Ioan conditions and they want to disburse, they don’t need to wait for me to return to Lagos, they just send it to me by email and I will approve via the email. That in itself has saved a lot delays,” he added.
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