MANAGING Director, Jaiz Bank Plc, Hassan Usman said on Thursday that the bank would soon commence the disbursement of $20 million small and medium enterprises fund it received from Islamic Cooperation for Development (ICD).
Usman who spoke during a chat with some finance correspondents in Abuja also disclosed that his bank will increase its branch network to 40 before the end of the year.
According to him, the bank would begin the disbursement of the SMEs loans before the end of the year since the necessary tidying up every necessary condition.
“We have finished all of that and we have lined up a number of customers desirous of benefiting from this facility and very soon we will start to disburse to these customers.
“We believe that before the end of this year, we would have done if not all of the disbursement of the $20m but substantial part would have gone before the end of this year.”
He said the bank had commenced a five-year strategic plan to enable it to provide better services to its customers.
For instance, he said the bank had increased its visibility in Lagos by opening more branches, adding that this would be extended to other regions of the country.
He said, “We are having a balance sheet size that is growing by 20 per cent year-on-year and our branch network has increased from 27 to 32 and we hope to increase this to 40 branches before the end of the year.”
On funding for agriculture, he said that the Central Bank of Nigeria had reviewed its framework of the commercial agricultural credit scheme to accommodate the funding structure of the bank.
He said, “The Central Bank and the Federal Government has been trying to ensure that financing gets to the farmers. To address the challenges, they came up with the Anchor Borrower Scheme and a similar scheme.
“We are also now going to be participating in the commercial Agric scheme of the central bank because they have now fine-tuned the scheme to accommodate our type of financing structure.
“Hitherto, we were not able to access it because it was on interest-based but it has been modified and we have a number of customers that will benefit from that.”
On the issue of rising Non- Performing Loans (NPLs) in the banking sector, Usman said NPLs had become an issue in the industry.
However, he added that unlike conventional profit-making banks where rising NPLs poses threat to the balance sheets, he said due to the none profit bearing nature of Jaiz bank, its NPLs is at a moderate level.