Small business owners are busy people. From serving customers and supervising employees to buying supplies and managing invoices, most entrepreneurs have endless to-do lists and not enough time in the day to get things done.
Knowing this, Accion Microfinance Bank (Accion MfB), an Accion partner in Nigeria, has invested in systems that make applying for and managing loans easier for its small business clients. And those clients are noticing the difference.
Promise, who has a business importing leather for making shoes and bags, has been an Accion MfB client for 11 years. He appreciates the new digital banking services it offers. For example, he says, the time it takes to apply for a loan has decreased dramatically. “Before, you waited for more than a week, and it would make you angry. But now I get it in three days,” he says. The process has been simplified as well, he adds, saying, “I don’t have a lot of paperwork anymore, because it’s all done digitally.”
Dr. Akinpelu, who operates a private hospital, also sees the changes Accion MfB has made. “Before if I wanted to get a loan, I had to go to the bank and then wait for a long time. Now I can stay at home and they can just transfer the money into my account, and message me to remind me to pay my loans,” he says.
Ezeh, who sells car batteries and parts, uses other digital features in running his business. “I can make payments on my phone now, and transfer to different people,” he says, which has saved him a huge amount of time not having to go around to deliver and collect on invoices.
Osholabi sells mattresses and furniture, and her time savings come from Accion MfB agents who come to her with mobile devices to help manage her loans. “Before I would sit for the whole day to try to apply for a loan, but I can get my loan on the same day now,” she says, adding, “I can sign on the tablet, so I don’t have to deal with paperwork anymore.”
As the saying goes, “time is money.” Accion MfB takes pride in providing its small business clients with both money and time. Says Osholabi, “The more money you have, the more you can do. Accion is really helpful.”