Grooming People for Better Livelihood Centre (Grooming Centre), has disassociated itself from being a wonder bank. It said that referring to it by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), as an “illegal financial institution and a wonder bank engaging in illegal activities” was false and defamatory.
The EFCC had in a statement on February 22, 2018, said it “arrested 27 ‘wonder bank’ operators in Oyo State, regarding Grooming Centre’s business practices.”
The micro-finance bank denounced statement credited to Mr. Femi Oyewole, Head of Media, EFCC, Ibadan Zonal Office: “Grooming Centre is a membership based Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) founded in 2006, and fully registered by the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC certificate CAC/IT/NO 24198), to address the perennial challenge of low access to financial services by its members, economically active poor people engaged in small trading and productive activities in many parts of Nigeria.
“The mission of the centre is consistent with the aims and ongoing efforts of the Central Bank of Nigeria and the Federal Government in promoting financial inclusion and client friendly services at the bottom of the pyramid.
“The centre is a national institution presently operating in 23 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), and providing services to some 650,000 poor women who are its members. The activities of Grooming Centre are fully recognised by the CBN.
“Grooming Centre is also a member of the apex Association of Non-Bank Microfinance Institutions of Nigeria (ANMFIN) and has always complied with all applicable laws, rules and regulations. As a global Tier 1 Microfinance Institution, Grooming Centre has been a standard bearer in implementing best practices in triple bottom line financial intermediation and inclusion in Nigeria and Africa over the eleven years of its existence.
“This has endeared the Centre to the major national and global players as well as funding vehicles in the microfinance sector and led to partnerships with multilateral institutions and bodies as well as several ratings and recognitions.
“It is the first microfinance institution in Africa to receive the highly-prized Client Protection Principles [CPP] certification from the Washington D.C. based SMART Campaign in 2016.
“We therefore reject the defamatory report. Till date, the Ibadan Zonal Office of the EFCC has not made us aware of any allegations and as to why they unjustly detained our staff members and caused this unwarranted embarrassment. Grooming Centre remains committed to promoting client friendly and best practice methodology in the delivery of financial services to the poor and flying the Nigerian flag high in the community of global best practice microfinance institutions.”