By Felix Ekwu
The corporate headquarters of Wetland Microfinance Bank in Uvwie Local Government Area of Delta State will officially be commissioned tomorrow Friday, April 29, 2022.
The state Deputy Governor, Deacon Kingsley Otuaro, who is the Special Guest of Honour is expected to commission the beautiful edifice, situated at the popular Enerhen junction on number 48 Effurun/Sapele Road.
The ceremony scheduled to begin at 10am is also expected to be graced by His Royal Majesty, Dr Emmanuel Ekemejewan Sideso Abe 1, Ovie of Uvwie Kingdom.
BANK BRIEF HISTORY
Wetland Microfinance Bank which is the leading microfinance bank in Delta State started business as Erikpo Community Bank in the year 2000.
The bank has a vision shared by a five-man board of Directors. It started its operations with seven-member staff that were the pioneer staff of the bank. The bank occupied a four-room apartment as its starting point. Its location was very strategic as they were located close to the popular Igbudu market in Warri, the headquarters of Warri South Local Government Area.
The proximity to the market gave the bank the opportunity to design products that suited the needs of the traders. At the same time, they felt a need to diversify their products and so, the educational sector was also considered.
The bank’s approach to the educational sector was a carefully thought out decision. It provided services in the area of infrastructural development of schools as well as providing finance for the needs of the operators of the schools.
While in Warri South, the bank had customers from Udu, Uvwie, Bomadi, Patani, Ethiope East, Sapele Local Government Areas and beyond.
Over the years, the bank has grown to have 11 branches with a customer base of well over 230,000.
What began as a one-unit bank twenty-two years ago now has 11 branches strategically located across Delta State, plus the Head Office and a customer base of well over 230,000.
1. DECO BRANCH: Located at number 38 Deco Road in Warri South Local Government Area of Delta State. This is the pioneer branch of the bank with a current customer base of 48,800. The branch once housed the Head office, before its recent relocation to its Corporate Head office at 48 Effurun-Sapele Road.
2. UDU BRANCH: This branch is located on Udu Road, opposite Foundation in Udu Local Government Area with over 35,000 customer base. It is the second branch after the one in Deco. It was the determination of this branch that changed the transport architecture of the Udu community from a solely Motorcycle-base (Okada) to a Tricycle-base (Keke). The branch majorly serves two local government areas; UDU and Warri South-West.
3. SAPELE BRANCH: This is the fourth branch of the bank, it is located at 26 Okpe Road, Sapele headquarters of Sapele Local Government Area with a customer base of 29,494. The branch majorly serves three local government areas: Sapele, Ethiope West and Warri North.
4. UGHELLI BRANCH: Ughelli branch is the 5th of the bank with a customer base of 21,015. The branch majorly serves three local government areas: Ughelli North, Ethiope East and Patani. The branch played a pivotal role in changing the transport architecture in its catchment area from predominantly Motorcycle (Okada) to Tricycle (Keke).
5. OKWAGBE BRANCH: This is the sixth branch of the bank and the only microfinance bank in Ughelli South Local Government Area. It primarily serves the local government area; providing empowerment to unemployed youth through its “KEKE EMPOWERMENT” and giving financial capacity to farmers, artisans and small business owners. It currently has a customer base of 16,462.
6. OBIARUKU BRANCH: Wetland Microfinance Bank branch in Obiaruku headquarters of Ukwuani Local Government Area is our seventh branch in Delta State. The branch with a customer base of 16,071 majors on granting financial capacity to unemployed youths in the community through the Wetland Keke Scheme as well as financial support to small business people, artisans and farmers.
7. ASABA BRANCH: Our branch in Asaba, the capital of Delta State has a customer base of 18,672. It is our eighth branch and doubles as a business branch and the bank’s liaison office to deal with the peculiarities of the capital city.
8. BOMADI BRANCH: This is the bank’s ninth branch and the only bank in Bomadi Local Government Area of the state. The branch currently has a customer base of 29,499 and is predominantly set up as a one-stop shop for all the financial needs of the people in the area.
9. AGBOR BRANCH: It is the bank’s tenth branch with a customer base of 24,152. The branch is strategically set up to meet the financial service needs of the people of Ika South and Ika North East Local Government Areas.
10. OGWASHI-UKWU BRANCH: This branch which is the eleventh of the bank currently has a customer base of 19,500. It is the only microfinance bank located in the town that is the headquarters of Aniocha South Local Government Area.
WETLAND MICROFINANCE BANK EXPERIENCES IN MANAGEMENT OF PARTNERSHIP FUNDS AND IMPACT
Wetland Microfinance Bank has been involved in different Micro-Credit programmes sponsored by donor agencies aimed at reaching both those who are accessible and difficult to access in areas of the Niger Delta region of Nigeria. Some donor/sponsor agencies the bank has and still working with include:
1. SHELL PETROLEUM DEVELOPMENT COMPANY MICRO-CREDIT SCHEMES: In this scheme, Wetland Microfinance Bank Limited was appointed by SPDC Western Division on September 10, 2002, after a very competitive bid to implement its Micro-Credit Scheme in Eight (8) of its host communities which include: Emevor, Igbide and Olomoro in Isoko North and South Local Government Area. Ekpemu-Akpata, Akpata-Gbegbe, Kokodiagbene and Okerenkoko in Warri South-West Local Government Area and Otor-Udu in Udu Local Government Area. Other benefitting communities of the scheme are Ofuoma and Ekakpamre in Ughelli North and Ughelli South Local Government Area as well as Ogulgha Obotoboi (one) and (two), Sokebolou, Youbebe and Yokri in Burutu Local Government Area.
2. FORCADOS YOKRI INTEGRATED PROJECT (FYIP): This microcredit scheme covered six communities earlier mentioned: Ogulagha, Youbebe, Yokri, Sokebolou, Obortobo (1) and Obortobo (2).
3. SHELL RE-ENTRY PROGRAMME: The bank was also commissioned to implement a Micro-Credit Scheme for more than two hundred (200) ex-flow station Guards in Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) areas of operations. Again, following our outstanding performance, SPDC Western Division contracted us in 2008 to run a micro-credit scheme re-entry programme.
4. DELTA STATE WOMEN ECONOMIC EMPOWERMENT MICRO-CREDIT SCHEME: The Delta State Ministry of Women Affairs, Community and Social Development sponsored this scheme for women in the state. Wetland Microfinance Bank was selected to implement and manage the scheme on behalf of the state for Burutu Local Government Area with 160 women benefiting from the scheme. The scheme began in March 2002 with a loan fund of One million, Six Hundred Thousand Naira (N1, 600,000.00) for 160 women. This scheme was successful in the area.
5. UNITED NATIONS DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME COMMUNITY-BASED MICRO-CREDIT SCHEME: In 2006 the Overseas Development Assistance (ODA) Department of the Delta State Ministry of Economic Planning commissioned Wetland Microfinance Bank Limited as one of the Credit Administrative Entities to administer micro-credit in 7 communities in Delta State. Although the scheme is no longer running, it impacted more than 20 credit cooperative groups.
6. NAPEP MULTI-PARTNER MACHINERING FUNDS (MP-MF): In this scheme, Wetland Microfinance Bank was appointed as one of the Credit Administrators to implement the programme. Loan funds were disbursed to 14 cooperative groups in the rural communities.
7. DELTA STATE MICRO-CREDIT PROGRAMME (DMCP): The Delta State Micro-Credit Programme (DMCP) is a scheme sponsored by the Delta State Government aimed at alleviating poverty by providing soft loan facilities for those that are in small scale businesses. Three local government areas (Patani, Bomadi and Warri-South) have been assigned to Wetland Microfinance Bank Ltd. The scheme started in 2008 with a loan fund of N1, 840,000.00 (One Million, Eight Hundred and Forty Thousand Naira only), but with subsequent disbursement, it has grown to N23, 741,000.00 (Twenty Three Million, Seven Hundred and Forty-One Thousand Naira only). Following our outstanding performance, Wetland MFB was contracted recently in 2009 to facilitate the same scheme in Ukwani Local Government Area. It is currently on with a total of 2628 beneficiaries and N32, 800,000.00.
8. FARMERS’ SUPPORT PROGRAMME (AGRIC SCHEME): Farmers Support Programme tagged “Quick Win For Farmer” is a Delta State Government Scheme which started in December 2008 with the aim of improving agricultural activities in the state. Wetland Microfinance Bank was appointed as one of the credit administrators to implement the programme in Warri South Local Government Area. So far, thirty persons have benefited from this scheme to the tune of three million one hundred and thirty thousand Naira (N3,130,000.00).
9. YOUTH EMPOWERMENT THROUGH AGRICULTURE (YETA): This scheme is also a Delta State Government-sponsored programme aimed at encouraging agricultural activities amongst youths in the state. Wetland Micro Finance Bank is also one of the facilitators anchoring the programme in Warri South Local Government Area of the state. The scheme started in April 2009, and so far 8 persons have benefited to the tune of one million two hundred and twelve thousand, one hundred and twenty naira (N1,212,120.00). The bank’s Obiaruku, Sapele, Bomadi and Warri offices were picked by the Ministry for the 2010/2011 YETA programme. The first tranche for these loans has already been disbursed.
10. EGBEMA/GBARAMATU DEVELOPMENT COUNCIL AND CHEVRON MICRO-CREDIT: This micro-credit programme is currently been administered in the riverine areas of Tskelewu, Opuama, Poloboubor, Okimfambe, Ogbudugbudu, and Opia, with a total of N34 million disbursed.
11. UNITED STATES AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT FOUNDATION (USADF): The United States African Development Foundation (USADF) awarded a grant of N6,780,000.00 to Wetland Microfinance Bank Limited. The MoU between ADF and Wetland Microfinance Bank Limited was signed in October 2012. This is aimed at supporting the project(s) of fish farming groups in Warri South Local Government Area of Delta State.
12. NIGERIA PETROLEUM DEVELOPMENT COMPANY (NPDC): In this scheme, Wetland Microfinance Bank Ltd was appointed by NPDC in January 2014 to disburse Ten Million Naira only after a very competitive bid to three (3) cooperative societies in Edjophe community in Ughelli South Local Government Area.
13. SEPLAT PETROLEUM DEVELOPMENT COMPANY LTD: In this scheme, Wetland Microfinance Bank Ltd was appointed by SPDC on August 11, 2014, to disburse a micro-credit loan of Six Million Naira only to four (4) groups in Obozogbe-Nugu community of Edo State.
- Identify potential clients/ groups for the programme
- Monitor clients /groups
- Evaluate and record progress
- Report on general performance
- Train on: Enterprise development, accounting principles /record keeping
- Make general recommendations on the programme
- Disburse and recover loan fund
- Revolve loan scheme (where applicable)