The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has listed the non-permissible activities by Microfinance Banks.
Disclosing this in a Circular To All Microfinance Banks titled ‘Cessation Of Non-permissible Activities By Microfinance Banks’, the apex bank revealed that Microfinance Banks have gone beyond the remit of their operations, hence the need to clearly list their activities.
According to the apex bank: “The Central Bank of Nigena (CBN) has observed the activites of some Microfinance Banks (MFBs) that have gone beyond the remit of ther operating licenses by engaging in non-permissible activities especially wholesale banking, foreign exchange transactions and others,
“Given the comparatively low capitalization of MFBs, dealing in wholesale and/or foreign exchange transactions are a significant risk with dire consequences for financial system stability.
“It has therefore become imperative to remind all MFBs to strictly comply with the extant Revised Regulatory and Supervisory Guidelines for Microfinance Banks in Nigena 2012 (the Guidelines).
“For the avoidance of doubt and consistent with the permissible activities of specialized micro-institutions:
1. MFBs are strictly prohibited from foreign exchange transactions.
2. MFBs are to primarily focus on providing financial services to retail and/or micro-clients.
3. Micro credit and retail transactions carried out by MFBs are limited to N500,000 per transaction for Tier 2 Unit MFBs and N1,000,000 for other categories.
4. Micro credit facilities shall constitute a minimum of 80 per cent of total loans portfolio for MFBs.
“The CBN will continue to monitor developments in the MFB sector and apply severe regulatory sanctions for breaches of extant regulations, including revoking the license of non-compliant MFBs (in line with Section 19 of the Guidelines).