Microfinance is one of the entry points to access formal financial services for the unbanked. To acquire potential customers, microfinance¬†banks/institutions need to identify sustainable and innovative ways to provide a broad range of financial products that serve the needs of the low income population.
The challenge is how to ensure that these microfinance¬†banks/institutions are delivering value to the lowest income segment of society. The ability of microfinance banks/institutions to effectively provide financial services to the unbanked depends on them having the appropriate management skills and institutional capacity. That is why in April 2010, EFInA launched¬†its Microfinance Capacity Building Competition. Three microfinance banks were selected to attend the 16th Annual Boulder Microfinance Training Program in Turin, Italy, where they joined 325 other participants from 80 countries around the world.
The benefits of participating in this type of programme, can best be¬†described by¬†the sponsored participants of the Boulder 2010 program. Justina Kpedi, Managing Director, Wetlands Microfinance Bank in Delta State lists Human Resource Management, Financial Analysis, Process Mapping, and¬†Networking as the key learning points. Segun Odumoye, Managing Director of Adkolm-Emerald Microfinance Bank in Ogun State, learnt the¬†importance of a¬†well structured business plan and appropriate¬†product design in order to expand access to financial services to the low-income population. Following the course, Segun and his team redesigned a number of¬†products, which resulted in one specific product that had a client base of 200 and a monthly risk asset portfolio of N5m growing to over 500 clients with¬†a monthly risk portfolio of¬†N25m as at March 2011.
In 2011, in addition to sponsoring executives from four microfinance banks/institutions, we also sponsored a representative from the Central Bank to attend the Boulder program, as we believe that effective policy development, regulation and supervision of the sub-sector are also critical to promoting financial inclusion.