It said after a year of operation in the country, the company had been able to assist individuals, small companies and groups in the microfinance sector by disbursing loans to the tune of ¢8.5 billion in 2006 alone.
The Chief Executive Officer of the company, Mr Joe Emmim, said “out of this amount, ¢3.9 billion went to 500 individuals, ¢500 million to 20 small enterprises and ¢4.1 billion to 400 individuals in 80 groups.”
Mr Emmim said the company was confident about its operations because “our repayment rate is about 99 per cent with minimal arrears”.
The company was incorporated as a private limited liability company in July, 2004 and has since paced up its growth as a non-bank financial institution. By virtue of that the Bank of Ghana granted it license to focus on providing financial services to micro, small and medium enterprises in Ghana.
Mr Emmim said because the company was new in the country, it started by targeting traders (wholesalers, retailers and hawkers) in the Central Business District of Accra, specifically in areas such as Makola, Okaishie, Opera Square, Rawlings Park and Kantamanto.
He said its customers were mainly in the business of selling downstream items such as biscuits, flour, sugar, second-hand clothes, ear-rings, watches, necklaces, laces, clothes, electrical appliances, among others on large scale.
Mr Emmim said the role of such people in the provision of employment and generating cash through taxes could not be over emphasised, adding that “they are a force to reckon with”.
He said only 10 per cent of the population had bank accounts and indicated that it was the resolve of the company to double its loan portfolio this year.
Mr Emmim said the company would open branches in Accra and Kumasi this year, and continue to offer financial services to people previously excluded from the formal financial sector.
“The microfinance sector is underserved and so we are just scratching the surface. The fact is only 10 per cent of the population have bank accounts and, therefore, we expect to double our deposit base and loan portfolio in 2007” he noted.
On how the loans could be sourced, Mr Emmim explained that the company’s clients had to save for a minimum of two months before they could be given a loan.
That, he said, allowed the company to study the savings pattern of the clients as it did not take landed property as collateral.
“Instead, we use a certain percentage of their savings as cash collateral and the application process is simple, without much interview, and loans are disbursed within 48 hours”.
He said the company had plans to sustain its growth by increasing its customer base and expand its product line.