By Adedapo Adesanya
Access Bank Plc has finalised the acquisition of 78.15 per cent shareholding in the African Banking Corporation of Botswana, otherwise known as BancABC Botswana.
The acquisition announced on Tuesday, October 12, is part of Access Bank’s strategic ambition to position itself as Africa’s financial gateway to the world.
This adds to the Lagos-based financial institution’s recent acquisition after it acquired a number of other regional banks, including Kenya’s Transnational Bank and South Africa’s Growbank.
According to the Chief Executive Officer, Access Bank, Mr Herbert Wigwe, “We are pleased with the successful conclusion of this transaction which will provide significant synergies by combing BancABC Botswana’s strong retail banking operation with Access Bank’s wholesome banking capabilities.”
“It will also strengthen the quality of earnings through revenue diversification and growth in the corporate and SME banking segments for BancABC Botswana.
“The combination is another step towards our broader vision of becoming the world’s most respected African bank,” he added.
Business Post understands that BancABC is currently the fifth-largest bank in Botswana, meaning more valuation for the Nigerian lender.
Prior to the acquisition, it was well-capitalised and poised for growth and now, BancABC will be further positioned to be able to provide improved trade and payments solutions in the Botswanan market.
In the same vein, Access Bank hopes to take advantage of BancABC’s established track record to push its digital banking platforms and product suites to bank customers in the Southern African country.
Zenith Bank to Give Akwa Ibom N4.7bn Loan for Auto Plant
By Aduragbemi Omiyale
The government of Akwa Ibom State is planning to obtain a loan of N4.7 billion from Zenith Bank Plc for the establishment of Mimshac Automobile Assembly Plant.
The auto plant is to be located in Ikot Ukap, Itu Local Government Area of the state.
Governor Udom Emmanuel, a former director at Zenith Bank, approached the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly for approval of the credit facility.
Mr Emmanuel, in a message forwarded to the Speaker of the House, Mr Aniekan Bassey, and read by the Clerk, Mrs Mandu Umoren, at plenary on Tuesday, explained that the loan will aid the implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Akwa Ibom State Government and Mimshac Digital Ltd Automobile Plant for the sum of $10 million (about N4.7 billion at the exchange rate of N470/$1.
According to the Governor, the said amount from Zenith Bank will help “finance the procurement of Semi Knocked Down and Complete Knocked Down (CKD) parts for the assembling of 85 stainless steel, 20-seater luxury buses.”
He further explained that the money will also facilitate the training of 20 persons recommended by the state government on the assemblage and manufacturing of vehicles in Israel.
In a statement posted on its Facebook page on Thursday, the Akwa Ibom House of Assembly said the loan request was supported by lawmakers, who said it would boost the economy of the state and create more jobs for the teeming unemployed youths.
The lawmakers assured that the House will continue to support Governor Emmanuel in his quest to leave the state better than he met it.
The Speaker, while speaking after the loan request approval, directed the Clerk to communicate the resolution of the parliament to Mr Emmanuel.
Digital Banking – A Catalyst for Economic Growth and Financial Empowerment
By Lamin Manjang
Think back to a time when the word ‘Bank’ came to mind. It conjures images of long queues, tally numbers, paperwork to complete, pressure to process transactions within working hours, awaiting physical approvals on transactions.
Fast forward to more recent times with the impact of technology and financial literacy, the word ‘Bank’ connotes different reactions to many people. Personalized financial growth, opportunities for business collaborations, access to foreign investment opportunities, transferable generational wealth and financial security all on one’s terms are some of the prevailing thoughts for customers.
Customers now have access to information around the clock at the touch of their fingers and as such can determine what financial needs they want their financial partners to meet. The union of innovation, digital literacy and collaborative opportunities to provide financial services, gives us the solution that is Digital Banking.
Digital banking in Nigeria has evolved significantly over the last five years to become an important part of our daily activities, driving e-commerce, wealth creation, payment solutions, financial empowerment, and improved standards of living.
In a world of digital banking and with innovation and technology positioning itself as the future of payments and wealth creation, there are several opportunities for financial institutions to tackle some of the country’s biggest challenges around job creation, economic empowerment and financial inclusion for youths while being a catalyst for efficiency within the sector.
As with any endeavour towards automation, curiosity with heightened caution is expected primarily around the impact on employment opportunities and business sustainability. However, the reality is that with digitization comes immense opportunities for employees in any organisation to acquire new skills that position them for the future working environment which will be predominantly digital.
Digitization fosters efficiency. For example, it broadens and extends a bank’s ability to reach existing and new customers, previously unreachable due to the limitations of the physical brick and mortar branches. Digitisations simplifies manual processes through automation; reduces delays encountered by end-users; creates new job opportunities, thereby creating multiple opportunities for reskilling, upskilling, and redeploying of employees into new roles.
At Standard Chartered, we are a listening and customer-centric financial institution. We are focussed on understanding how our customers want to transact; how we can improve on the products and services that are important to them while ensuring a smooth delivery method to these solutions.
A growing number of our customers are telling us that they want financial solutions that they can access and utilize anytime and anywhere from the convenience of their own mobile devices.
They want to be able to access investment opportunities 24/7 on the go at their fingertips and equally connect with our customer care specialists who can support them whenever they have any queries. Continuous optimization of our digital banking solutions enables us to meet these financial needs.
In December 2021, as part of the digitization journey we embarked on a few years ago towards enhancing our processes, we closed down 10 of our branches in Lagos and Abuja and made significant investments towards optimizing our operating channels, products and service solutions to suit the demands of our clients.
The decision, with the approval of the regulator, was also driven in response to changes in customer transaction behaviour. We have witnessed significant adoption of our digital banking services by customers as most of them continue to prioritize convenient banking over the need to visit any of our physical locations to access our products and services.
In addition to our customer-centric digital strategy, we pride ourselves in the implementation of a forward-looking People Strategy where we proactively plan our workforce needs to fulfil our Business Strategy.
The banking landscape is very dynamic with rapidly changing customer needs. This year, in response to this, we continue to strategically prepare our employees for the future working environment which will be primarily digital. We continue to upskill, equip, and redeploy employees especially those impacted by the closure of the branches in Lagos and Abuja to ensure career growth and stability for our employees this year.
But digitization is not just for the advantage of our customers and employees only. Digitisation provides an opportunity to positively impact the communities too.
The importance of quick access to finance for example cannot be undervalued and with financial exclusion still being a barrier in some parts of Nigeria – digital innovation in banking can influence positive transformation within the sector.
Recently the bank launched its Agency Banking service as part of its Digital Banking proposition to clients across Lagos. This builds on the launch of our world-class digital bank in December 2019. SC Mobile, the Bank’s mobile app has practically put the bank in the palms of the client as clients are able to open new accounts end to end, transfer funds, effect static data changes, get cards delivered to their doorstep, invest in real-time etc.
We equally launched our Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) service, *977# which caters to clients who may not have access to internet service and wish to transact. These are just some of the initiatives we continue to drive in support of CBN’s financial inclusion agenda to empower Nigerians.
We have taken a ‘Capturing the Digital Initiative’ approach that ensures that over 70 per cent of the most common service requests can be handled by our digital bank with distinct benefits such as a zero charge on all interbank transactions, zero charges on SMS notifications and free delivery of cards to customers regardless of location. We remain forward-thinking on how best we can continue to simplify and improve our customers experience with the bank.
From the 2020 NIBBS report, customers between 25 and 34 years old carried out 36% of all interbank instant payments. With an estimated 60% of the Nigerian population setting the tone for adopting innovative technology, it is essential to welcome the latter while also firmly holding the former by striking a balance in responding to customer-specific needs.
Digital banking is no longer a series of financial transactions and services. It is an innovative solution towards providing empowerment and creating sustainable prosperity for our clients, colleagues and the community. This is the future and we are all encouraged to adopt and maximize these changes for the benefit of all.
Lamin Manjang is the CEO of Standard Chartered Bank Nigeria.
KPMG Ranks Ecobank Among Top Five Customer-centric Nigerian Banks
By Aduragbemi Omiyale
Ecobank Nigeria Limited has been ranked among the top five customer-centric financial institutions operating in the country.
The ranking was done by a leading audit and professional services company in Nigeria, KPMG, in its 2021 survey of Nigerian banks.
Ecobank Nigeria was number five in the study in the Wholesale (Corporate) Banking category of the KPMG Customers’ Experience and Satisfaction Survey.
When compared with the previous year, the lender moved eight places higher, which was a significant improvement.
The top banks in order of rating include Citibank, Standard Chartered Bank, FCMB, Zenith and Ecobank Nigeria.
KPMG explained that Ecobank and other leaders in the segment demonstrated digital banking excellence with higher transaction volumes; adding that they were seen as partners to corporates and also move quickly to address and exceed customer needs.
“Our annual banking survey continues to provide an independent platform for banks and other organizations to acquire this outside-in perspective and understand the voice and priorities of Nigerian customers.
“This year, our results reveal a very competitive landscape in the race for the customer and at the same time, customer feedback that recognizes the effort and innovation of Nigerian banks,” the respected firm stated.
Specifically, it stated that, “In the report, we explore, in more detail, key priorities for corporates such as transaction banking support as well as the payments experience for retail customers.”
The KPMG Nigeria Banking Industry Customer Experience Survey has been held annually for the last 15 years with the 2021 edition themed Changing Customer, Changing Priorities.
The experience survey measures the performance of lenders in the country in terms of their relationship with their account holders and other users of financial services. They are usually rated in three categories – Retail, SME and Wholesale.
The 2020 survey covered 15,056 retail customers, 1,856 SMEs and 332 commercial/corporate organisations. Respondents were selected from customers who have interacted with their banks in the last six months.
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