Recently Approved Diocesan Microfinance in Nigeria Set to Benefit Millions Financially

Bishop Emmanuel Badejo blesses the premises of Ave Maria Microfinance Bank in Nigeria's Oyo Diocese. Credit: Oyo Diocese

The proposed Ave Maria Microfinance Bank of the Catholic Diocese of Oyo in Nigeria that received approval from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is set to benefit millions in the Nigerian Episcopal See.

In a Tuesday, May 17 report, the Diocesan Coordinator of the Justice, Development and Peace Movement (JDPM) in the Catholic Diocese of Oyo confirms the approval of the financial entity that he says is “a tool for strengthening the economic capacity and capabilities of the poor”.

The decision of Oyo Diocese to establish Ave Maria Microfinance Bank “is to address the peoples need for financial inclusion which is today widely considered a right of all citizens to social inclusion, to better quality of life and a tool for strengthening the economic capacity and capabilities of the poor in a nation,” Fr. Gabriel Adeleke says.

In his report posted on the Facebook page of Oyo Diocese, Fr. Adeleke shares about the reaction of the people of God in the Nigerian Diocese, “especially those of Iwajowa Local Government and the entire Oke Ogun area, which population is roughly 1.5 million”, to the news of the CBN “approval of the license in principle for the Ave Maria Microfinance Bank (Proposed)”.

The bank is expected to give individuals and businesses “useful and affordable financial products and services that meet their needs, transactions, payments, savings, credit, and insurance delivered in a responsible and sustainable way,” the Nigerian Catholic Priest says.


The decision to establish the Diocesan Microfinance Bank was informed by “the non-existence of commercial banks in Iwajowa Local Government”, a gap Fr. Adeleke says “had denied the people the right to pursue their dreams to the full, because they were so far excluded from the formal financial sector”.

“This lack of access to financial tools impacts the socioeconomic mobility of the population. Sadly, it hinders them from escaping poverty,” the JDPM Coordinator in Oyo Diocese adds.

According to the Coordinator of the entity that oversees the social outreach of the Nigerian Diocese, “The proposed bank will bring a series of impactful interventions in the lives of the people in Iwajowa Local Government area and of Oyo Diocese at large irrespective of religion, race, or gender."

The Catholic financial institution will provide clients with "loan disbursement services for the delivery of the credit program of government, agencies, groups, and individuals for poverty alleviation on non-recourse basis,” Fr. Adeleke says in his May 17 report. 

Ave Maria Microfinance Bank, he adds, will seek to promote and monitor loan usage among its clients by "providing ancillary capacity building in areas such as record keeping and small business management." 

More in Africa

The JDPM Coordinator further says that government employees will benefit from payment services such as the receipt of salaries, gratuity, and pensions through Ave Maria Microfinance Bank

The member of the Clergy of Oyo Diocese adds that the Bank which is expected to have mobile banking and micro insurance services will be able to issue redeemable debentures to members of the public with approval of CBN

In the report, the Local Ordinary of Oyo Diocese is said to have “acknowledged the financial exclusion of most of our people in Oke-Ogun area, both Muslims and Christians alike, especially in Iwajowa Local Government Area.”

Bishop Emmanuel Adetoyese Badejo who was making his remarks during his pastoral visit to the Oke Ogun area is said to have “stressed how this exclusion has denied them basic opportunities as children of God.”

The Nigerian Bishop, the May 17 report indicates, “underscored the commitment of the Catholic Diocese of Oyo in collaborating with government in its target of 95% financial inclusion rate by 2024”.


Bishop Badejo “did not hesitate to call on different institutions and individuals to join hands with the Catholic Diocese of Oyo to make this laudable project more impactful,” Fr. Adeleke says in his May 17 report.

Magdalene Kahiu is a Kenyan journalist with passion in Church communication. She holds a Degree in Social Communications from the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA). Currently, she works as a journalist for ACI Africa.