The Managing Director of Lift Above Poverty Organisation (LAPO) Microfinance Bank, Godwin Ehigiamusoe, has revealed that his bank aims to give out a total of N152 billion loans to support micro, small and medium scale enterprises (MSME) in the country this year.
He also restated the commitment of the bank to helping the MSMEs and the less privileged in the society.
He made this known during a media parley held in Lagos.
According to him, "We are aware, there is a growing clamour for financial inclusion which is the availability of a range of financial services to all especially those who are excluded from the mainstream financial system.
"This is exactly what LAPO has been doing in the past 30 years. It has over the years developed into a set of mutually reinforcing institutions providing financial and social development services.
"LAPO Microfinance Bank which has become synonymous with microfinance had a very humble beginning. It was initiated in the 1980s. The decade of 1980s was when the lingering national economic challenges began. LAPO was therefore a response to the challenge of poverty then and now.
"It was therefore to address material deprivation with microcredit; poor health with health programs and social exclusion with social empowerment programmes. We do know that most people at the bottom end of the society take LAPO as microfinance.
"It is for this reason most infractions by other microfinance institutions and banks are ascribed to LAPO."
He added: "Sometimes in 2017, a major newspaper published a story of a man who threatened to commit suicide because of LAPO loan. A further check by the leadership of the respected newspaper confirmed that in Abeokuta where the report came from, all micro loans are called lapo."
On the target of the bank for this year and some achievements, the management had set, he said, "In 2006, LAPO won the Grameen foundation award for excellence in microfinance. The cash price of $10,000 of award was used as a seed find for a scholarship scheme for children of our clients.
"Over 3,000 children have benefitted from the awards. Also, skill acquisition support for children of our clients who are out of the school system. Over 600 have equally benefitted.
"Last year, we gave out a total of N137 billion in loan, and for our loans this year, our target is to give out a total of N152 billion. As of today, we already have out about N90 billion and I'm optimistic that we would meet target."