The Chairman of Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (ETI), Emmanuel Ikazoboh, has disclosed that the bank has dedicated about $150 million loans for Small and Medium-scale Enterprises (SMEs) in the country in the last six months.
Ikazoboh disclosed this in Abuja when some delegates from Ecobank paid a courtesy visit to President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja. The reason for the visit was to congratulate the President on his re-election.
“…to wish him God’s guidance and spiritual protection to continue to lead this nation because we believe that he has the interest of the country at heart and if Nigeria succeeds, Africa has succeeded and been the leader of Nigeria, he is the leader of Africa. Since we are the Pan-African bank, we needed to come and see the leader of Africa.”
Note that prior to President Buhari’s re-election, he asked Ecobank to work with him to provide funding for the country’s agricultural sector. According to the President, doing this would help to establish the bank’s legacy as a major player in the quest to build the economy.
However, while the bank continues to provide credit facilities for small businesses, it is faced with the challenge non-performing loans. If there are a lot of unpaid loans, then banks will run low on funds and this will make it difficult for SME’s to get loans.
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There should be a plan in place that would stop people from taking loans from banks without paying back when they are supposed to, the Chairman explained.
How to minimise unpaid loans
These are some basic steps banks should take before giving out loans to avoid unpaid loans;
- Before and during the execution of a loan agreement, the bank should evaluate any potential risk that may cause the borrower to default on his/her loan agreement. for example, the borrower should have properties that they would mortgage in case they don’t payback.
- The loan agreement should include that the borrower must provide the bank with a report regarding its assets, business, or other financial conditions from time.
- The borrower should not be allowed to sell or give out any of the mortgaged assets without the approval of the bank.
- A guaranty should be involved in the loan agreement, so when the borrower fails to pay back the loan, the back can make a claim or try to enforce the guaranty.