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Asha Microfinance Bank

05.06.2022 Featured At Asha Microfinance Bank ‘Employees Use their Salaries to Settle Loans Unpaid by Customers’

Published 5th Jun, 2022

By Opeyemi Lawal

Ronke Tolani (not real name), a staffer of Asha Microfinance Bank, a financial institution believed to be owned by Bangladeshi nationals, has narrated how the management of the company forces its employees to use their monthly salaries to offset debts owed by loan defaulters.

Tolani told FIJ that the bank, also known as ASA Nigeria, has made life unbearable for most of its employees through its cut-throat policies.

“At ASA Nigeria, and because of our objectives as an organisation, we are required to look for small business owners who are willing to take our loans and then repay with interest,” Tolani said.

READ ALSO: FG Shuts Down Loan Apps, Freezes Their Accounts

“Most times, the people we give loans default through no fault of ours. Some of them sometimes start the repayment process but before you know it, they would suddenly stop.

“When they default, the company completes the repayment with staff salaries. Often, an employee may have several customers attached to him or her for loans, and if all of these persons end up not complying with the repayment plan, the staff goes home without pay at the end of the month.

“Presently, I haven’t been paid for three months because my customers have defaulted in their repayments.”

BORROWING FOR SURVIVAL

Tolani told FIJ that said she survives by borrowing money from friends and family members for her upkeep.

“At some point, my parents had to take loans on my behalf to settle ASA Nigeria. It’s even worse because we are expected to pay these monies with interests which drains us financially as well as psychologically,” she said.

READ ALSO: Self-Acclaimed Danjuma’s Son Who Wants to Be Taraba Governor Pockets Loan Seekers’ Money

Tolani added that at other times, staff members fight these loan defaulters so they can pay up their debts.

“ASA Nigeria does not protect us from clients who when they default, we try to make them pay. Usually, they take sides with the clients against their own employees,” she said.

“I once fought with a client who refused to repay her loan and this client beat me up instead and pulled my hair from the middle. The part she drew became bald. I had to be treated in the hospital by my family after the incident.

“ASA Nigeria didn’t intervene in the matter. They also did not take up the case with the client. Their actions showed me that a defaulting client was more valuable than their staff.”

DEDUCTION FROM SALARY NOT STATED IN CONTRACT

When FIJ asked Tolani if it was stated in employee contracts that they would have to pay up loans owed by defaulters, she said such was not documented.

“All we were told at the point of employment was that we’re to give out loans and recover them, 100 per cent. But on my letter of appointment it was never stated that I will be using my money to pay cash-in-hand,” she said.

READ ALSO: After Damaging Text From LCredit, Aggrieved Borrower Vows Never to Repay Loan

“Cash-in-hand refers to money from client who absconds after taking the loans. They suddenly disappear and you see no trace of them.

“By default, at the end of the month, you won’t want to fill in zero for over-due borrowings which signify unrecovered loans. The organisation doesn’t care about how you plan to recover the money. They pretend like nothing has happened or whether the clients have paid or not.

“All the debts you can’t recover, you must pay for them with your salary. They pretend like they don’t know you’re paying. They believe you must be able to retrieve the money.

“You can’t complain or protest against this policy or else you would be tagged as going against the organisation’s will to succeed as a business concern.

“You would be indicted and get ‘set up’ by the organisation. Before you know it, the management is already accusing you of misappropriation.

FIJ contacted Asha Microfinance Bank for a reaction via email on June 1 but a response had not been received at press time.

Published 5th Jun, 2022

By Opeyemi Lawal

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