In what will be a move to grow the Nigerian economy, Jaiz Bank Plc., a Nigerian non-interest commercial lender, said it would soon start off the disbursement of USD 20 MN facility for operators in the Small and Medium Scale Enterprises sector. The fund which is meant to better the productivity of SMEs is secured from the Islamic Development Bank (IDB).
The Managing Director of the bank, Hassan Usman, disclosed this information at the briefing on the performance of the Islamic bank in Nigeria. He said the fund would be disbursed before the end of the year and noted that: “The SME financing line from the Islamic Cooperation for Development (ICD), which we signed publicly states that when you begin to do the work and tidy up to make sure the agreement and all the precedent conditions are met, and we have lined up a number of customers who desire to be beneficiaries of this initiative. Very soon, we will begin disbursing to these customers”.
Jaiz Bank’s financing deal with the IDB was sealed in April this year, and the agreement covers sectors such as industry, communications, technology, health, manufacturing, agriculture among others.
According to Usman, Jaiz Bank has begun a five-year strategic plan to provide better services to its customers. “The bank has vamped up its visibility in Lagos by opening more branches, and this would be extended to other regions in the country.”
Usman says Jaiz Bank has a balance sheet size that is experiencing 20 percent growth year after year, adding that their branch network has grown from 27 to 32, with the hope to further increase to 40 branches before the year runs out.
Explaining further the MD said: You need synergy around the branches so that you can reduce the general costs a subsidiary incurs. If you have a loan branch in the South-South in Port Harcourt, for example, that wouldn’t be very economical. We are getting to a level of threshold activities before we go on to open branches in the South-East. We are aware that the market there is waiting on us. We bank people from that part of the country through the nearest branch”.
With the license from the Central Bank of Nigeria as a national bank in 2016, Jaiz Bank now has its eyes on becoming a regional player. Confirming this, Usman said: “The vital thing is that we do very well in Nigeria. When we experience growth to a level we are both happy with; the expectation is that we will move to the region and partner with more leaders to become a regional player”.
Usman as well informed that as per infrastructure funds, requests for such financing has been low but that Jaiz Bank has invested heavily in the Sukuk bond of the Federal Government, particularly conforming with its ethical criteria.