“Nigerians have embraced interest-free banking” | The Guardian Nigeria News

Contrary to initial hesitation, Nigerians eventually embraced the interest-free banking model, having benefited over 100,000 micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).

Its operations have also allayed fears of an alleged Islamization program cited by its critics. Jaiz Bank Plc Managing Director Hassan Usman said so yesterday while briefing reporters on activities planned to mark the bank’s 10th anniversary in Abuja.

Usman said: “The Islamization claim was one of our main challenges when we first opened our doors 10 years ago, I think the claim stemmed from the lack of basic information from staff and customers as well as reviews. But demonstrating our products helped us let people know that Islamic banking is about commerce.

“We are setting standards and leading the interest free banking industry especially in Nigeria. When you do business with us, you are free to identify the assets in which you wish to invest in order to benefit from our loan guarantee. Unlike conventional banks where you provide loans or overdrafts to buy the assets, we generally take business risks with clients. And those who understand our fundamental advantages have refused to return to conventional banks.

Responding to questions about the bank’s impact over the past 10 years, Hassan Usman explained that it has successfully grown from three branches in its early days to more than 45 branches across the country.

“We provide equity for women to establish themselves; grow their businesses. We also have over 100,000 on Katafu Insurance; all these value-added services have been the strength of the bank over the past 10 years.

“We have primarily had an impact on the delivery of housing to over 30,000 Nigerians, we have invested around 75 billion naira in the agriculture sector, especially rice and other agriculture-related commodities. Our portfolio of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) has grown by over N6 billion,” he said.

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