Nigerians are quick to criticize officers of the Nigeria Police Force and often do not care about their well-being; however, a special Microfinance Bank in Nigeria is actually going out of its way to make the lives of our hard working policemen better.
In this episode of the CEOs Interview, we sat down with the Managing Director of NPF Microfinance Bank, Mr. Akinwunmi Lawal and their Executive Director of Operations, Mr. Ohanehi Jude, as they shared details on the vision of the company and the steps being taken to achieve their goals
Giving a brief history of the company, Mr Akinwunmi revealed that the bank has been operating in Nigeria for 25 years now and has been constantly improving over the years.
"The NPF Microfinance Bank was founded 25 years ago, we will be celebrating our 25th anniversary in August. The company started as a community bank, precisely in August 1993, and went on to become a microfinance bank in December 2007 when a new Microfinance Bank Policy was formulated stipulating all community banks to convert to microfinance banks, under the regime of the then Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, Charles Soludo". He said.
The Executive Director, Ohanehi Jude, talked about the awesome welfare and social projects being carried out by the bank to better the lives of Nigerians.
"The NPF Microfinance Bank is the first Microfinance Bank to be quoted on the Nigerian Stock Exchange. We have 28 branches nationwide with presence in all 6 geopolitical zones in Nigeria. We strive to a great extent to associate ourselves with the social policies and plans of our community.
"On several occasions, the bank has funded different social projects within its environment. Recently, we funded the Remita Training in Abuja for the remittance of police officers' salaries, and funded the provision of office furniture for the new police recruits. The bank has also been active in sponsoring inter-house sports competitions of secondary schools around us. We also funded cervical cancer screening and preventive injections for females in secondary schools found in less privileged neighbourhoods."
Speaking on the digital future of the company, Mr Akinwunmi hinted on innovative IT plans being worked on by the bank to improve services and ensure customers get the best.
"The bank is deploying I.T. solutions that will make its services go viral. This will enable customers everywhere, even in remote areas, access our services via mobile banking, agency banking, USSD and a host of other digital financial solutions." He said.
On how the bank's team is set up and how they manage to keep the team motivated, Mr Ohanehi disclosed that the working environment is kept as conducive as possible and every one gets treated like family.
In his words, "The management has put in tremendous effort in providing a conducive working environment for our employees. It is one of the key reasons our staff turnover is very low. The management ensures the encouragement of staff to further their training while providing opportunities to fund their exams and other professional courses, this is one of the reasons the company has the largest collection of Chartered Microfinance Bankers in the country.
"We also give elongated maternity leaves to our female staff while creating a sense of being one big family among all members of our staff. All of this sums up the collective effort of the bank which translates to our financial performance. We are happy and we continue to improve on what we do."
Just like every other successful establishment operating in Nigeria, the NPF Microfinance Bank faces certain challenges that it works hard to keep under control and ensure maximum productivity.
According to the management of the company, "funding is a general challenge for Microfinance Banks in Nigeria; the issue of bad loans is a recurring challenge we deal with every now and then. Access to technology is another problem microfinance banks face in the country; they don’t come cheap and require a lot of funding. In spite of these challenges, the company finds strategies and solutions to mitigate them and ensure that we stand tall as an organization."
When asked about the relationship between the company and the Nigeria Police Force, the management explained that the shareholders of the bank are the Nigeria Police Force and the general public. The Police has a majority shareholding but it is also good to know that the bank is a Public Limited Company.
The company has also promised to take things even a step further with the deployment of a new banking application that will enable seamless, fast and efficient provision of microfinance banking services.
If you have not already taken advantage of the services being offered by the NPF Microfinance Bank, this should be your cue to join in for better banking services and a generally improved life.
Watch the video clip from this interview below: