What is a microfinance bank

AFOS Foundation

- Fortis microfinance bank

“The partnership between Fortis MFB PLC and AFOS clearly signals the beginning of a revolution in the microfinance sub sector in Nigeria. AFOS has put together an industry changing and transformative program that will turn Fortis and by extension the entire microfinance sub sector around for good.

The Mid level Management training program is innovative, timely and it will set the future of Fortis on the path of a world class institution. The feedback from participants have been terrific as the sessions have being impactful, instructive and influencing.

We have seen the impact in the quality of the inputs of participants in their work and we will ensure that every staff of Fortis is transformed by this new spirit and skills as a way to say thank you to AFOS and to the German government.

The AFOS team have been most outstanding and have professionally conducted the affairs of this project with a world class approach. Today’s workshop in particular has also broken a cultural norm in Nigeria where people are rarely bold enough to speak frankly in workplace due to the African seniority mentality. But with the approach of Bernard, Kenneth and Funmi the participants developed the confidence to let out their thoughts without any reservation. We say thank you. We will ensure that this revolution sustains it momentum until we develop a world-class Fortis that will be the toast of the Microfinance sub sector in Nigeria and Africa. "

Joseph Onyeabor
Group Head Financial Inclusion
Fortis Microfinance Bank Plc.

More information about the Fortis microfinance bank you'll find here.

- LAPO microfinance bank

The main partner of the AFOS Foundation in Nigeria has been the microfinance bank LAPO (Lift Above Poverty Organization) since 2012. It grants small loans to almost 1.5 million customers, over 90 percent of whom are women. These have organized themselves in small groups and are mainly active as small business owners:

  • in trade (petty trading)
  • in small business
  • in agriculture

The LAPO microfinance bank has grown enormously in recent years due to the huge demand for small loans and is now considered the leading Nigerian microfinance bank. In order to strengthen the exchange with other financial institutions, the LAPO-Bank has founded a microfinance platform.

A customer of LAPO-Bank Nigeria

LAPO-Bank is the price leader in Nigeria when it comes to interest rates for small loans. The AFOS Foundation has made an important contribution to this development. She supported LAPO:

  • to increase their efficiency
  • reduce internal costs
  • to increase savings deposits for refinancing
  • to significantly increase their number of customers

The best trainee receives his certificate

For this purpose, the AFOS Foundation and the LAPO Microfinance Bank have improved the management structures in their joint project, developed a personnel development concept and introduced a training and further education program in the LAPO Bank.

These measures ultimately made it possible to significantly lower the interest rate on small loans.

The Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) supports this project significantly.

The non-governmental organization LAPO has been offering simple financial services to people who otherwise have no access to them since 1987. The concept of microcredit, which is almost exclusively aimed at women, is closely based on the model of the Grameen Bank (Bangladesh). This is still one of the important supporters of LAPO-Bank to this day.
In 2010, the Lift Above Poverty (LAPO) organization founded the Lift Above Poverty Microfinance Bank (LAPO MFB). Officially licensed as a “Microfinance Bank” by the Nigerian Central Bank, it is allowed to offer financial services at national level. The bank is based in Benin City, Edo State / Nigeria. Since 2010, LAPO MFB has been audited by the international auditing company Deloitte.

The AFOS Nigeria project is now in its second phase, which is expected to be completed in 2018. The focus of this AFOS project are:

  • Education and training Nigerian microfinance advisors whose professionalism is to be increased in the long term
  • Offers of options and potentials of the microfinance industry also in rural areas of Nigeria