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March 7, 2008

Blue expands into Nigeria with multi-partner venture

by Richard Kilner

Story link: Blue expands into Nigeria with multi-partner venture

In a deal worth R160m Blue Financial Services and Intercontinental Bank are to create a microfinance bank in Nigeria.

Intercontinental Bank (ICB) is the greatest asset-holding bank in the country and will own a 35% stake in the new venture.

Dave van Niekerk, chief executive officer of Blue Financial Services, declared on Thursday that AIG Capital Partners will possess a tenth of the new bank, whilst Blue holds a 55% majority share.

Van Niekerk has also stated that the new bank is the product of two years of comprehensive research into the situation, in addition to searching for the most suitable partners to support the scheme.

Nigeria is hugely underbanked with just a tenth of lending to individuals, according to the CEO, and operating there would improve financial services for the country and extend Blue’s geographical footprint in Africa.

Van Niekerk went on to explain that on average for every 57,000 rural denizen in Nigeria there was just one banking outlet, with 32,700 people living in cities served by a single bank branch.

In Nigeria, the banking system tends to focus upon savings accounts and depositors, with other services, such as lending, available only to those already have savings accounts.

 

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