Sterling Bank unveils ‘quick cash’ scheme for women
Succour may soon come the way of women entrepreneurs hitherto hit hard by access to finance as Sterling Bank Plc has unveiled the “Market Women Quick Cash,” to address the challenge.
The move, under the bank’s ‘One Woman’ proposition, is in partnership with Afrigrant, a Non- Governmental Organization (NGO).
The new proposition, the lender noted, is expected to promote women empowerment and capacity building, by bridging the gap between women entrepreneurs and access to funds.
It would also aide the process of bringing them into the formal sector, where they can benefit from financial advisory services, capacity building and mentorship.
Unveiling the initiative at the Entrepreneur Research and Development Centre Kaduna, the bank’s Managing Director, Yemi Adeola, said the proposition is specifically designed to provide access to convenient savings, transaction and quick loan services for women, using both self-service methods and agent banking.
Adeola, who was represented by the bank’s Company Secretary/Legal Adviser, Justina Lewa, explained that the lender adopted both methods because “we believe the future of banking resides in the hand of the customer.”
“We must begin to drive that paradigm shift by empowering women from now. Our partnership with Afrigrants allows us bridge this gap by providing a familiar interface for the customers,” he said.
The bank boss explained that the significant number of women in Nigeria’s population makes it imperative to deliberately focus on their needs to ensure sustainable economic development and growth.
His words: “Adult women constitute over 50 million of Nigeria’s population and only about 31% of this population are banked according to EFInA Access to Financial Services in Nigeria Survey 2014.
“The business case for targeting women is simple. They are the more excluded gender. More so, 21.4 million females (42.7 per cent of the total female population) are financially excluded; 15 million of these women are earning income frequently. To enable us to make an impact for inclusion, we must reach as many women as possible”.
Responding, Kaduna State Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Development, Hajiya Rabi Abdulsalam, noted that the quick cash initiative would help government at all levels to cushion the effect of the current recession, especially as it relates to access to required funds by women entrepreneurs to grow their businesses.
“It is on this note that l am happy with the idea of having private sector operators coming together to bring this noble innovation of giving out loans to women at nine per cent interest rate and zero collateral to enable women play active role in the economic development of the country at a time when the economy is in recession”
Also, the state’s first lady, Hajia Aisha Ummee El Rufai, commended the bank for coming up with the initiative targeted at transforming the lives of women in the country.
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