Mr. Olawale Osinsanya, is the Managing Director, Gateway Mortgage Bank. In this interview, he told SEGUN AYINDE that the current economic recession has made it difficult for financial institutions to grant loans to young entrepreneurs, considering the risk involved.
Recently, Ogun State Government announced that all Ministries, Department & Agencies should open an account with your bank. What does government intend to achieve with that directive?
The directive should not be seen as a force but an indication that Gateway Mortgage Bank is now a state bank, and what makes a state bank is that state functionaries, among others, patronise the bank. The directive will help increase the bank’s customer base and give its management the opportunity to justify the reason it was established. Many thought that the bank cannot do what commercial banks do, but we have been able to convince them that we have the skills and competence to deliver quality services.
What advantage do MDAs in the state have for operating their accounts in your bank?
It will benefit the agencies and the state immensely. The agencies will have the opportunity to access quality banking services from us. A lot of them have been banking with us for a while but not all of them. So, directing them to open accounts with us will benefit them because the service charge that are going to other banks, which doesn’t belong to the state, will come to us, which will invariably go back to the state as dividend. Our operations can also be monitored by the agencies and the state government because we have nothing to lose.
How do you cater to the grassroots?
We have products to cater to them. There are several bank accounts they can subscribe to. We have savings, current and private accounts that enable our depositors to enjoy seamless banking experience. We also get close to the grassroots, help monitor and grow their businesses. In most cases, they require financial assistance to give their businesses facelifts.
During the last Ogun Investors’ Forum, the state government urged entrepreneurs to come to the state to harness the available resources in the state. What are your plans to enable them have easy access to fund?
Like Governor Ibikunle Amosun had assured investors, Gateway Savings and Loans also affirm that any entrepreneur that approaches the bank shall laugh last. Aside from giving them credit at affordable interest rate, we are also ready to help organisations to provide accommodation for their staff as they open branches in the state. We are prepared to ensure they have roof over their head. We have different packages for different sizes of business. We can build quarters for companies or sell lands to them that they can sell to their staff.
What plans do you have for young entrepreneurs in the state?
It is a pity that in this country we have neglected out future workforce. Our leaders ought to have invested in the youth, and ensure that there is enabling environment for them to grow. Deliberately, we must make effort to develop young entrepreneurs between ages 18 and 35. Ordinarily, they should be able to use their certificates as collateral to raise fund. It is, however, difficult for banks like us to assist them financially because our conditions are stringent and I do not think young entrepreneurs will be able to meet them. This is basically because the risk of funding small businesses is very high.
What plans does the bank have for retired workers in Ogun State?
Their needs are limited. Therefore, we maintain their account as pensioners. But in case they need advance before the pension comes in, we have a product for them. We also help them to build houses. For instance, if their pension can pay certain amount over a period of time, we make arrangement for them to bank with us.