The Management of Sterling Bank Plc has offered single digit loans to women in Kaduna State in order to aid business growth and reduce hardship.
The gesture which is part of the bank’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) will provide loans between N50, 000 and N500, 000 to women.
Speaking at an interactive session yesterday in Kaduna, Ali Akilu Branch Relationship Manager of the bank, Ahmed Danjuma, said the initiative will enable Nigerian women to start and sustain businesses to cushion the effect of hardship.
According to him, “If you look at the country generally, there is hardship everywhere and we know only the government cannot do it, so the bank came up with the initiative as its own Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).”
He said even though the initiative is not free, the regular interest rates for banks is higher than 3 percent, adding that, “The percentage is considered as a special offer to enable the women to meet up with the market demand.”
A beneficiary, Hajiya Zainab Atoba, expressed hope that women will be able to repay loans with single digit interest rates.
On how she was able to get the 3% interest rate for women, JMA President, Hajiya Rabi Saulawa, said it was a thug of war between her and the bank for two years before they agreed.
“Initially, the bank requested for 10%, and later reduced it to 6% but I insisted and begged them before they finally agreed on 3%; because I know my women cannot pay for anything more than that,” she stated.
“We hope that after six months, they will roll it over for another period of six months so that more women can benefit.”
She urged women to be up and doing, adding that, “By the time we start our skills and entrepreneurship exercises for them to know how to manage their business, I know it will go a long way in empowering families.”