LICENSING REQUIREMENTS FOR APPLICATION FOR A MICROFINANCE BANK LICENCE
Under the Central Bank of Nigeria Guidelines for The Regulation and Supervision of Microfinance Banks in Nigeria (January 2020), there are three (3) stages for the licence procurement in Nigeria for Microfinance banks. Which are:
I. Requirements for Pre-licensing Presentation 
Promoters and investors shall be required to make a pre-licensing presentation on the business case of the proposed MFBs to the CBN before a formal licence application. This provision is also applicable to investors acquiring an existing MFB.
II. Requirements for grant of Approval-In-Principle (AIP)
1. The promoters of MFBs shall be required to submit a formal application for the grant of licence addressed to the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria. The application must include the following document:
(i). Evidence of payment of non-refundable application fee to the Central Bank of Nigeria;
(ii). Evidence of capital contribution made by each shareholder;
(iii). Evidence of minimum capital deposit in line with Section 4.2.7 of the CBN Guidelines;
(iv). Evidence of name reservation with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC);
(v). Detailed business plan or feasibility report which shall, at a minimum, include:
a. Objectives of the Microfinance Bank;
b. Justification for the application;
c. Ownership structure in a tabular form indicating the name of proposed investor(s), profession/business and percentage shareholdings;
d. Sources of funding of the proposed equity contribution for each investor;
e. Where the source of funding the equity contribution is a loan, such shall be a long-term facility of at least 7-year tenor and shall not be taken from the Nigerian banking system;
f. Organizational structure, showing functional units, responsibilities, reporting relationships and grade of heads of departments/units;
g. Schedule of services to be rendered;
h. Five-year financial projection of the proposed bank indicating expected growth, profitability and the underlying assumptions; and
i. Details of information technology requirements and facilities.
2. For institutional investors, promoters shall forward the following additional documents: certificate of incorporation and certified true copies of other incorporation documents, board resolution supporting the company’s decision to invest in the equity shares of the proposed bank, names and addresses (business and residential) of owners, directors and their related companies, if any, and audited financial statements & reports of the company and tax clearance certificate for the immediate past 3 years.
3. Draft copy of the company’s Memorandum and Articles of Association (MEMART).
4. A written and duly executed undertaking by the promoters that the bank will be adequately capitalized for the volume and character of its business at all times.
5. For regulated foreign institutional investors, an approval or a ‘no objection letter from the regulatory authority in the country of domicile.
6. Shareholders’ agreement providing terms for disposal/transfer of shares as well as authorization, amendments, waivers, and reimbursement of expenses.
7. Statement of intent to invest in the bank by each investor.
8. Technical Services Agreement, where applicable.
9. Detailed Manuals and Policies.
10. Bank Verification Number (BVN) and Tax Clearance Certificate of each member of the Board and significant shareholders.
11. Duly signed resume and valid means of identification for proposed shareholders of proposed MFB.
12. Criteria for selecting board members.
13. Board composition, directors’ duly signed resumes and valid means of identification. The size and composition of the board shall comply with the provision of the CBN Code of Corporate Governance for MFBs.
14. Consolidated statement of account showing the capital contribution for all shareholders.
15. Completed Fitness and Propriety Questionnaire; and sworn declaration of net worth executed by the proposed shareholders, directors and management personnel.
16. Any other information that the CBN may require from time to time.
Following the receipt of an application, the CBN shall communicate its decision to the applicant within 90 days. Where the CBN is satisfied with the application, it shall issue an Approval-in-Principle (AIP) to the applicant The proposed bank shall not incorporate/register its name with the CAC until an AIP has been obtained from the CBN in writing, a copy of which shall be presented to the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) for registration.
III. Requirements for Granting of Final License 
Not later than six (6) months after obtaining the AIP, the promoters of a proposed Microfinance Bank shall submit an application for the grant of a final licence to the CBN. The application shall be accompanied by the following:
1. Evidence of payment of non-refundable licensing fee to the Central Bank of Nigeria;
2. Certified true copy (CTC) of the Certificate of Incorporation of the bank;
3. CTC of MEMART;
4. CTC of Form CAC 1.1 (Application for Registration of Companies);
5. Evidence of location of Head Office (rented or owned) for the take-off of the business;
6. Schedule of changes, if any, in the Board, Management and Shareholding after the grant of AIP;
7. Evidence of ability to meet technical requirements and modern infrastructural facilities such as office equipment, computers, and telecommunications, to perform the bank’s operations and meet CBN and other regulatory requirements;
8. Copies of letters of offer and acceptance of employment in respect of the management team;
9. List of proposed top management staff and duly signed resume stating their qualification
10. Comprehensive plan on the commencement of the bank’s operations with milestones and timelines for roll-out of key payment channels; and
11. Board and staff training programme.