Lagos - The African Development Bank (AfDB) is upbeat the a US$ 12 million line of credit (LOC) to LAPO Microfinance Bank (LAPO MfB) would improve access to financial services by poor households and small businesses.
In a statement, AfDB said the LOC would as well promote an inclusive microfinance model that works for the poor, enhance financial inclusion of women and female entrepreneurs and support increased revenue of poor households involved in profitable micro enterprises hence generate more jobs across states in Nigeria.
The Board of Governors of the AfDB, through its private sector window recently approved the LOC.
LAPO MfB is the largest microfinance bank in Nigeria with 1,1 million clients and 327 branches currently operating in 26 out of 36 states in the country. Given its history of a group-lending model based on a community-based approach, LAPO predominantly focuses on low-income households and women (with females comprising over 90% of its total client base) by providing an average loan size of $ 190.
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In spite of its lower-income client base, its total loan portfolio exceeded $ 144 million in December 2013 thanks to its efficient decentralized banking model as well as wide coverage and deep penetration of rural areas. LAPO has successfully achieved its goal to reach over 1 million clients by end of 2013, ahead of plans.
It targets to reach 5 million clients by the end of its five-year business plan (2013-2017).
LAPO has 3,184 staff (1 311 men and 1 873 women staff) across 327 branches to prospect for new business and effectively serve its existing customers on the ground.
“The LOC will support proposed project will support expansion of LAPO MfB to achieve its goal to serve 5 million clients by 2017 in Nigeria focusing on low-income individuals (predominantly women) and micro/small enterprises by providing affordable access to finance, saving, credit and insurance in urban and rural areas as well as by expanding its geographic coverage and number of branches,” AfDB stated.
– CAJ News