As SympliFi prepares to launch in Nigeria, we wanted to take the time to introduce our community to one of our lending partners in Nigeria, Alert Microfinance Bank.
We sat down with Alexander Adebola, Head of IT and Digital Banking at Alert MFB to find out more about the bank and their partnership with SympliFi.
Alex, for those that might not be familiar with Alert, can you please tell us a bit about the bank?
Sure, Alert MFB is a regulated deposit-taking microfinance bank based in Lagos that is focused on providing affordable, flexible financial services to micro-entrepreneurs in Nigeria. We have 2 branches and 5 customer meeting points in Lagos, serving almost 6,000 customers, and have disbursed over 2 billion Naira in loans. We started operations in 2014 as a unit microfinance bank, and our license is in the process of approval to operate as a State Microfinance Bank by the Central Bank of Nigeria.
Do you only focus on micro-entrepreneurs?
When Alert started operations, our initial clients were micro-entrepreneurs. We expanded our offering and now serve a broad range of customers, from micro-entrepreneurs to SMEs, as well as individuals.
We offer a wide range of savings and credit products to our customers. On the credit side, our products include working capital, asset finance, salary loans, and now diaspora loans, to name a few.
We have also invested heavily in IT to offer digital loan products as a way to provide more efficient service and grow our customer base. The new loan offerings for Nigerian diaspora are part of that digital effort.
The diaspora loan offering is through your partnership with SympliFi. Tell us more about that and why you decided to partner with SympliFi?
There are significant number of Nigerians who live abroad that still have strong financial and economic ties to their country. Leveraging technology, we believe there is an opportunity to provide the diaspora impactful banking services for their personal and business activities back home. The challenge has always been how best to access the diaspora to offer our products, and SympliFi solves that challenge for us. That is why we decided to partner.
SympliFi’s online platform allows us to directly connect with Nigerian diaspora around the world and provide our credit products to support their various needs. We are able to process the transaction digitally, making it very convenient for diaspora that are living in Europe for example. It is quite unique in the market.
What can diaspora use the loan for?
We primarily offer a working capital facility for diaspora to finance business activities in Nigeria. The benefit of the product is they can secure a credit facility to help them finance and grow their business, without the hassle and inconvenience of having to constantly send money to Nigeria to fund the business. As the business grows we can increase the credit facility to support the growth. We can also provide financing to purchase equipment for their business.
When you are in business you realize that building a credit history with a reliable bank partner is critical to sustaining the long term growth of your business. We want to be that long term partner, regardless of where you are in the world.
We also have a loan product that enables Nigerians to use a family member in the diaspora as a guarantor for a loan, using the SympliFi online platform as well.
What are the requirements for the loan?
The diaspora will need to complete an online loan application, provide their business details in Nigeria, and some accompanying documents, which they can send online as well. Plus, depending on the stage of the business, we may require some cash collateral which we also process digitally on the SympliFi platform. The loan process is fairly straightforward, completed fully online, and we can disburse the funds in their Nigeria bank account within 24 hours.
Thank you Alexander. This has been very informative.
To find out more about Alert MFB and their diaspora loan product please visit their website @alertmfb.com.ng/index.html.