The introduction of microfinance banks in Nigeria is the inability of Nigerian Deposit Money Banks to provide
sufficient financial service to the rural poor. Microfinance banks have taken up the challenges of the gap created by the Nigerian Deposit Money Banks. Microfinance banks can be seen as an economic growth method intended to advantage the low income part of a given country like Nigeria, both rural poor and urban poor.
Since the advent of microfinance banking in Bangladesh in the mid 1970’s, several countries have copied this financing model. The Nigerian governments over the years have had to grapple with poverty and unemployment. The realization that many of these ...view middle of the document...
Microfinance is sectionally defined as a financial intervention that focuses on the low-income group of a given society. The intervention primarily involves credit services and may also include savings, insurance on credits and savings.
Micro finance can be defined as a development tool used to create access for the economically active poor to financial services at a sustainably affordable price (CBN, 2005). Eluhaiwe (2005) opined that micro finance is the provision of thrift, credit and other financial services and products in very small amounts to the poor to enable them to raise their income levels and improve their standard of living. Micro finance has also been defined as the provision of very small loans that are repaid within short period of time and is essentially used by low income individuals and households who have few assets that can be used as collateral (Ukeje, 2005).
Micro finance is basically a tool designed to improve the capacities of the economically active poor to participate in the larger economy. The economically active poor are either micro entrepreneurs who operate in the informal sector (trading, farming, food catering, craftsmanship and artisanship) or people earning wages. Such poor people earn their living in either rural or urban areas; and the financial services for which access is sought are mainly savings and loans (Idolor, 2007). Micro finance is about providing financial services to the poor who are traditionally not served by the conventional financial institutions.
Many features distinguish micro finance from other formal financial products. Five of these are: the smallness of loans advanced or savings collected, the absence of asset-based collateral, and simplicity of operations (Kimotha, 2005). Others are its targets as the marginalized group of borrowers, and its general employment of a group lending approach (Igbinedion and Igbatayo, 2004). The group lending approach has implication for the pressure that the members of the group bring to bear on one another to ensure loan repayment, so that the group can continue to enjoy borrowing or loan facilities.
In developing countries, a majority of the population do not have access to financial services and thus constitute the group that micro finance tries to reach. Nigeria, like any other developing country, is saddled with the problem of rural urban migration, mass illiteracy, poor infrastructures, poverty and low access to formal financial services. Hence the need for the government's micro finance policy, aimed at expanding the financial infrastructure of the country to meet the financial requirements of the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) as well as the rural and urban poor. The policy has created a platform for the establishment of Micro Finance Banks (MFBs) geared towards enhancing the provision of diversified micro finance services on a short-term or long-term and sustainable basis for the poor and low-income groups. It would also help...