BY MARK ITSIBOR, Abuja
It was a day of giving back to its customers at the weekend when Nigeria’s leading Microfinance Bank (MFB); Fortis thrilled some of its customers in a week-long event to mark the 10th anniversary of the bank in Abuja.
At an award presentation ceremony to its outstanding customers in various categories last Friday, the Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of Fortis Mr. Tiko Okoye said the bank customers and staff form integral part of the institution for success and growth.
“If we must grow, we have to grow our customers because it is the aggregate growth of the customers that is the growth of the bank. And so, we were very concerned about growing our customers first. We need to grow our traders because when they grow, we grow,” Okoye said.
The bank customers were given different household items including power generating set, electronic washing machine, electric fan and water dispenser.
Mr. Okoye also expressed excitement that the bank has able to meet its major targets at inception in 2007. “Expectations of the bank have been largely met. We are very excited. We came in as a unit Micro Finance Bank and projected that by 10 years, we have become a national MFB. And that we got in 2015. We also said we would set a pace by ensuring that the bank is listed in the Nigerian Stock Exchange. Today, we are one of the two MFBs listed on the NSE,” he said while addressing journalists at the event on Friday.
Earlier, Chairman, Wuse traders association, Mr. Raphael Okorie expressed delight over the bank’s level “of discipline, professionalism and ethical standards that are laid in the bank from inception to today,” which he said have not been breached.”
He declare: “Am happy to bank with a bank that is real, based on ethics, that has the core values of banking as a bedrock, has the interest of its staff at heart, that is thinking about the wellbeing of its immediate society of business operation and helped Wuse market traders to cushion the impact of cash trap when the shops in the market were re-soled. Am proud of what you’ve done and am proud of this bank. FORTIS MFB is the bank to deal with.”
One of the longest standing customer of the MFB who simply identified himself as Alhaji Dangara said decision to remain in business with Fortis MFB was born out of his experience with the fact that “for the last 10 years of banking with Fortis, there is no story about your funds with them.”
Alhaji Dangara said his experience with Fortis is a testimony that the bank is always true to its slogan: “Yes, we can”. “When you ask for facility they tell you, ‘yes, we can’”. When you ask of the money you deposited with them, they tell you ‘yes we can’”. Honestly, whenever I keep my money with the bank, anytime I call for it they answered me, ‘yes we can’. Of course, I got back my money. The integrity is there.
President of Wuse market cooperative society, Chinedu Agabaeriwere said “Fortis has personally touched my life. I have an account with FORTIS. I have taken loan facilities from FORTIS MFB with the lower interest rate charges among all MFBs.”
The bank which started as a unit Micro Finance Bank currently operates in 23 states of the federation. The bank is listed in the Nigerian Stock Exchange. “We have on our books, up to 10 foreign partners that are doing business with us currently. It is meant to take us away from the crowd.