Contrary to initial hesitation, Nigerians have finally embraced the non-interest banking model having benefited over 100,000 micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).
Its operations have also allayed the fears of a purported islamisation agenda cited by its critics. The Managing Director of Jaiz Bank Plc, Hassan Usman, said this, yesterday, while briefing newsmen on activities lined up to mark the 10th anniversary of the bank in Abuja.
Usman said: “The islamisation claim was one of our major challenges when we opened our doors for operations 10 years ago, I believe the claim stemmed from the lack of basic information by staff and customers as well as the critics. But the demonstration of our products has helped us to let people know that Islamic banking is about trading.
“We are into setting standards and leading the non-interest banking, especially in Nigeria. When you bank with us, you are free to identify the assets you want to invest in for you to get our loan guarantee. Unlike the conventional banks where you are giving loans or overdrafts to buy the assets, we usually take commercial risks with customers. And those who understand our fundamental advantages have refused to go back to the conventional banks.”
Answering questions on the bank’s impact in the last 10 years, Hassan Usman explained that it has successfully grown from three branches at inception to over 45 branches across the country.
“We provide equity funds for women to establish; expand their businesses. We also have over 100,000 of them on Katafu Insurance; all these value-added services have made the bank strong in the last 10 years.
“We have impacted mostly on housing delivery for over 30,000 Nigerians, we have invested about N75 billion in the agricultural sector, especially rice and other farm-related products. Our Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) portfolio has grown more than N6 billion,” he said.