Less than one percent of Microfinance Banks, MfBs, licenced by the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, have national licence to operate in the country.
Data obtained from the CBN website showed that out of the 1,028 MfBs licenced by the regulator to operate across the country, only eight have national licence. A further breakdown shows that there are 112 MfBs with state licenses and 908 MfBs with unit licenses.
The CBN guideline stipulates that a microfinance bank with a national license requires N2 billion as paid up capital to operate in all the states of the federation. The guideline further stipulates that MfBs with a state licence requires a N100 million to operate within a state and are allowed to have cash centres within the state while a unit MfB requires N20 million paid up capital and cannot have cash centres besides the main office. However, there are indications that the CBN plans to increase the minimum capital requirement of the MfBs to enhance their performance and ensure the sector does not fall into crisis.