Borrowers from Micro finance banks have cried out for help as their lenders are allegedly sending SMS to them, urging them to repay their loans or be ready to face court sanctions.
Some micro-finance banks, such as; Royal Exchange, ASHA, AB, ACCION, LAPO, ASIA, CARBON, GROOMING, etc have started threatening their customers to repay their loans regardless of the economic downtown which the covid-19 lockdown has caused or be ready to face sanctions.
As gathered by VOA News correspondent, customers have started receiving threat text messages; compelling them to make sure their loan is repaid within a stipulated window, or risk taken to court.
Below is one of the text messages obtained by our correspondent as sent by a Micro-finance bank with the name, CARBON to one of its customers who would not want her name in print .
“Hello ……..One Finance and Investment Limited, trading under the name Carbon, have instructed our solicitors to take over recovery of your debt obligations towards us. They will contact you on this number and at your home address shortly. To avoid being taken to court, pay N72,262.65. now to One finance.”
Recall that the CBN Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele had said, ‘to mitigate the effect of the Covid-19 on the economy, the bank took decisive action to safeguard the Nigerian financial system and the economy from the emerging headwinds’.
He said, “The key policies include provision of extended moratorium on loans by an additional one year beginning from March 2020.”
Punch News had reported that a source in CBN told their correspondent that, “The moral suasion that the CBN governor gave to the industry was not only to the commercial banks but also to all the lending institutions, including the micro-finance banks.
When VOA News contacted one of the micro-finance banks’ top hierarchy, he said, ‘we are not operating under the CBN and that the CBN’s policy on loan repayment extension is not binding on them.
Borrowers however, have appealed to the Federal government and the Central Bank of Nigeria to wade in and as a matter of urgency, stop the micro-finance banks who are hell bent of ‘cutting short their lives’ by sending provocative text messages to them as the covid-19 lockdown alone is having a negative toll on them, even without the agony of having to repay loans which the pandemic has prevented them from.
“The CBN governor should please safe the masses’ soul against ‘double panic’ because, everybody are already in panics due to the Covid-19 and 80% Nigerians collected loan for their businesses. I pity the less privileged market men and women.
“Our government should please send an official circular to all merchant and micro-finance banks both online and offline, to suspend all loan repayment for monthly and weekly on both group and individual till further notice, even despite the ease of lockdown, businesses are not yet stabilized”.