NIGERIA: Oyo Diocese Obtains Approval for Proposed Microfinance Bank

IBADAN, MAY 20, 2022 (CISA) – Residents of the Oke Ogun area, situated in Yoruba South West, Nigeria, are a happy lot after the Central Bank of Nigeria approved a license in principle for the operation of the proposed Ave Maria Microfinance Bank, a project by the Catholic Diocese of Oyo.

In a press statement dated May 17, Rev Fr Gabriel Adeleke, the diocesan coordinator of the Justice, Development and Peace Movement (JDPM) an one of the main proponents of the bank indicated that some of the services the bank will offer are, “Acceptance of deposits including savings, time, target and demand from individuals, groups, and associations except public sector deposits; credit to its customers, including formal and informal self-help groups, individuals, and associations, Promotion and monitoring of loan usage among its customers by providing ancillary capacity building in areas such as record keeping and small business management, Issuance of redeemable debentures to interested parties to raise funds from members of the public with the prior approval of the CBN, Collection of money or proceeds of banking instruments on behalf of its customers including clearing of cheques through correspondent banks, Agency services for the provision of mobile banking and micro insurance services to its clients, payment services such as salary, gratuity, pension for employees of the various tiers of government and loan disbursement services for the delivery of the credit programme of government, agencies, groups, and individual for poverty alleviation on non-recourse basis.”

The idea behind the microfinance bank, floated by Rev Adeleke among other people through the JDPM and Bishop Badejo, was to give access to residents of Oke Ogun to basic financial services such as formal bank accounts, insurance, transaction services and loans.

The bank is poised to register impactful interventions to the residents of the Iwajowa Local Government area and of Oyo Diocese at large irrespective of religion, race, or gender as Rev Fr. Adeleke posed.

“The non-existence of commercial banks in Iwajowa Local Government had denied the people the right to pursue their dreams to the full because they were so far excluded from the formal financial sector. This lack of access to financial tools impacts the socioeconomic mobility of the population. Sadly, it hinders them from escaping poverty,” he posited in the statement.

The establishment of Ave Maria looks to satisfy the need for financial inclusion for the people of Oke Ogun, improve quality of life and is a tool for economic empowerment to build economic capacity, provide accessibility of financial products to individuals and businesses as well as responsibly serving their needs; transactions, payments, savings, credit and insurance in a responsible way.

The good news broke at a time when Most Rev. Emmanuel Adetoyese Badejo, the Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Oyo Diocese was in Oke Ogun during a pastoral visit. The prelate appealed to institutions and individuals alike to join the diocese in ensuring the project is more impactful citing that the diocese was committed to collaborating with the government to achieve its target of 95% financial inclusion before 2024.