By: Anozie, Amobichukwu
It will not be out of place to say that “insight and vision reside in great mind and great mind adapts to positive changes”. This saying is true of the colossal of our time in the banking sector in the south east Nigeria called Umuchinemere Pro-credit Micro Finance bank Ltd.
Government policies create opportunities that revolutionize the economic, political, the social status and even emotional and social psyche of nations and individual persons. This is true of Enugu government's decision to streamline its salary administration in 2008. This policy decision mandated all MDAs in Enugu state to choose a minimum of two banks for their salaries.
This created some rift among the members of staff as to which bank to choose. The problem of choice was compounded by the currency of bank distress then. Many conventional commercial banks were greatly affected by the distress. The issue was, if giant commercial banks can be distressed can community banks as they were then called stand. This controversy was worse in my school as many advocated for conventional banks.
Suffice to make bold that this policy decision of the government and the choice of our bank bring to the limelight the hidden treasure in micro finance banking, especially the very good one like Umuchinemere Pro-credit Micro Finance Bank Ltd (UPMFB). Some of whom knew the principles upon which these MFBs were established and the benefits therein which include government deliberate efforts to reach out through banking to those the conventional commercial banks cannot accommodate bring out the ingenuity in them.
Armed with my previous knowledge in MFB through an uncle I advocated for UPMFB as our choice. Those for the MFB choice received the condemnation of our life, but we stood our ground because we were sure. At last few of us who knew, with the support of our school's Principal then, Dr Mrs Christy Abba, we carried the day. This victory on the choice of our bank marked the beginning of better future for the staff. It really revolutionized our wellbeing as all benefited from the bank products and services.
On a personal note six months after opening account with the Umuchinemere Pro-credit Micro Finance Bank Ltd (UPMFB) I approached the bank for Education Loan as a test of its promises, like the saying that “the taste of the pudding is in the eating”, for higher degree programme and it was granted to me. The very good thing about the loan it was collateral free. All that was required of me was a written assurance by my employer that I will not change bank for my salary until the loan was completely repaid.
This was followed by a Housing Loan, then loan for SME, book publishing, agricultural loans. These loan facilities are positively affecting my life and re – positioning it for greater venture in the real sector of our economy. To say the least is that Umuchinemere Pro-credit Micro Finance Bank Ltd (UPMFB) loans are stress free. It is packaged in such a way that you can hardly feel the impact.
This I described as Loan Buffer. In event you have cash pressed; the bank allows you to take salary advance or to apply for repayment skip for one month. This allows you to re-stabilize and continue with the repayment of the loan. No other bank renders this type of service or can allow it. This is the mega difference. In as much as I extol the bank for these services and products, there is still room for improvement.
It has to encourage more salary earners to go into the real sector of the economy, especially now we are in recession. This can be done by increasing or expanding the limit of amount lendable to them from current one million to three million at a longer repayment period of between three to five years as a long term loan. The bank needs to restore its skipping product as a means of encouraging and grooming entrepreneurs and ensure sustainable economic growth and development. It can also organize entrepreneurial for a targeting young and middle age civil servants that have 10 to 15 years in their career for SMEs.
Anozie, Amobichukwu is staff member of Enugu State Post Primary Schools Management Board (PPSMB) and a long time customer of Umuchinemere Pro-credit Micro Finance Bank.
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