Joseph Ukpong , Development Finance Professional, Nigeria
06 May 2020

Interesting times the world is facing with this pandemic, it becomes even more interesting when you consider the demand and supply gap of financial inter mediation which hitherto exited in the MFI space. This is especially so for poorer nations where there already exist a large number of undeserved. Clearly, there would be losers (lots of them) but also there would (be some) winners, its not a hopeless loss loss situation.

My contribution however, drives towards looking at those key elements that will help MFI identify and focus on the "customer" segment that will deliver wins both in the short and long run while other recovery plans are on going.

1. Technology as the enabler and equalizer: Digital technology will become the game changer as the world of work and business changes. Product and services (loans, savings, deposit, remittances, payments, insurance) may not change significant, but the method(s) of delivery will certainly have to change radically.

2. First movers: Early adopters of end to end technology in customer acquisition, underwriting, loans origination, payments, remittances, collections and so on will win as the world slowly (or hurriedly, as the case is today) move away from cash handling.

3. Positioned for DFI support: Liquidity crunch is a major concern for FSPs as deposits dwindle. MFIs that shows a strong position and are properly aligned to get DFIs support and donor agency grants, will win during and post covid 19 pandemic.