THE ROLE OF MICROFINANCE BANKS IN POVERTY ALLEVIATION IN NIGERIA–A STUDY OF SELECTED MICROFINANCE BANKS IN ANAMBRA STATE

AUTHOR: NGINI SUFFICIENCY OBIOMACHUKWU

DEPARTMENT: BANKING AND FINANCE

AFFILIATION: NNAMDI AZIKIWE UNIVERSITY, AWKA

The broad objective of this study was to examine the operations of microfinance banks in Anambra State and to assess their contribution to poverty alleviation. A total of 140 randomly selected customers and officials of 14 purposively selected microfinance banks from the three geo-political zones of Anambra State. Descriptive statistics such as averages, tables, frequencies were extensively employed to analyze data. Also multiple regression analyses were also adopted to examine determinants of deposit and credit. Findings show that 57% of the households in Anambra State fall within the poverty bracket, while 42% are above poverty line. Though Anambra State may not be among the poorest in the country, identified statistics on poverty incidence give cause for worry. The microfinance banks in the state have been contributing modestly towards promoting the socio economic welfare of the citizens through lending and savings mobilization activities. Indeed, microfinance banks have been responsive to the credit needs of their customers; microfinance banks do not just mobilise deposits and walk away but rather they give back multiples of it to the depositors as credit; and credit beneficiaries are living up to their responsibility of repaying the credits they received. In spite of the above, however, certain operational problems hinder the full realisation of the benefits of microfinance, including high interest rates, lack of awareness, lack of collateral, weak access to refinancing facilities, client apathy and internal control measures, repayment problems. In view of the above, the study recommends that efforts should be made to strengthen and support microfinance bank in the state and thereby enhancing their role in poverty alleviation in Anambra State.

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