Business News of 2014-04-14

Innovative Microfinance to become bank by 2019

Innovative Micro Finance Limited (IMFL) is aiming at becoming a fully fledged commercial bank in the next five years.

The successful realisation of that dream by IMFL, an initiative of former Miss Ghana, Ms Sheila Azuntaaba, the founder and CEO, would make it the first microfinance bank in the country.

Ms Azuntaaba said in an interview that management was now working at improving the corporate governance structures of the company in the lead-up to it becoming a bank by 2019.

“Good governance is the bedrock. For any company to ever succeed, you should have all the regulations right and of course have a strong board in place. We have our board strongly behind us and we believe this can be possible,” she said shortly after the company launched its fifth anniversary in Accra.

Its stated capital as of January, this year, was GH¢1 million – almost double the Bank of Ghana’s requirement that microfinance institutions (MFIs) raise their minimum capital to GH¢500,000 by 2017.

The CEO said the size of the stated capital signified the strength of the company and its preparedness to support more businesses in the country with funds to grow.

“We have actually exceeded the requirement and we would work towards growing more than that,” she said.

The company currently provides financial support for over 20,000 women who have been constituted into 1,000 different corporate groups across the country.

Ms Azuntaaba said the aim would be to increase that number to 12,000 groups that would cover 100,000 women.

“It is ambitious but very achievable and we have always been driven by that,” she said.

The Assistant Director of the Banking Supervision Department of BoG, Dr Yaw Gyimah-Larbi, lauded IMFL for its prudent way of operations and strict adherence to industry regulations.

He was particularly impressed with the company’s readiness to submit its reports on time, saying “it is that diligence that motivated the bank to be present at this event.”

“Majority of the microfinance institutions don’t submit their reports at all but IMFL is not one of them and we hope they continue in that regard,” he said.

IMFL also used the opportunity to move into its new head office building at Adabraka in Accra, as well as donate assorted items worth GH¢4,000 to the Ghana Blind Union. The union is within its operational area at Adabraka.