RenCredit MFB Ltd., the Nigerian consumer-finance unit of Moscow-based Renaissance Group, opened operations in sub-Saharan Africa’s second-biggest economy.
“We plan to lend about 1 billion naira ($6.3 million) over the next six months, but much of our lending will be based on business needs,” Chief Executive Officer Segun Akintemi said in an interview in Lagos today.
Renaissance Group, headed by Stephen Jennings, is attracted by Nigeria’s growing economy and an expanding middle class with little access to credit, Akintemi said. The economy of Africa’s most populous nation of 160 million people is forecast to grow 6.8 percent next year compared with 6.5 percent in 2012, Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala said on Aug. 10.
Nigerian banks have limited credit to small and medium-sized enterprises following a debt crisis in 2008 and 2009 triggered by lending to stock market speculators and oil importers. Central Bank of Nigeria Governor Lamido Sanusi fired the CEOs of eight of the country’s 24 banks, and the government set up the Asset Management Corp. of Nigeria to buy the debts and stabilize the industry.
RenCredit is focusing on “middle income” earners and “small and medium enterprises” that want loans to complement their working capital, Akintemi said.