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Access Bank, Firm Support Digitalisation of Women Businesses

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Access Bank Closa Women Businesses

By Sodeinde Temidayo David 

Nigerian multinational commercial bank, Access Bank Plc, through the W Initiative, has partnered with SME.NG, an organization in Lagos for women, to provide a one-stop-shop solution for women entrepreneurs in Nigeria.

The W initiative by Access bank is a brand dedicated to inspiring, connecting, and empowering women in all categories, which include capacity building programs exclusive to women, mentoring programmes, and maternal health services, all aimed at helping to build a bigger, stronger and more sustainable society.

The partnership of the bank with SME.NG saw the launch of Ebi Marketplace, in a bid to promote the bank operation in providing female entrepreneurs with an opportunity to access easy finance, wider market, technical as well as business support to be of fundamental importance.

The Ebi Marketplace is an online platform that will be Nigeria’s first all women’s e-marketplace with a fusion of financial services, trading opportunities, access to advisory services, mentorship, networking and so much more.

Speaking on the bank’s interest to support female-owned businesses, the Executive Director of Retail Banking Division, Mr Victor Etuokwu, noted that women SMEs face major challenges in the areas of funding, business networks, technical know-how and business management amongst others.

Mr Etuokwu added that it is vital to support the digitization of women-owned businesses in Nigeria by providing them with economic opportunities, business sustainability, and improving resilience to the negative effects of the economic downturn which would reduce the bottlenecks faced in running their businesses.

Also according to him, Access Bank, through the W Initiative, is set to onboard 1,500 female entrepreneurs on the Ebi Marketplace platform to ensure viability and resilience to economic shocks.

In her remarks, the Managing Director of SME.NG, Ms Thelma Ekiyor, commended the bank, also stating that Access Bank’s commitment to women through the W initiative makes the bank the ideal partner for the Ebi Marketplace

Access Bank’s commitment to empowering female entrepreneurs is set to continue contributing immensely to the growth of SMEs in Nigeria and further impact the social and economic growth of the country.

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Banking

First Bank Partners NIBSS to Promote Digital Payment Convenience

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First Bank Sympathy Letter

By Sodeinde Temidayo David

Nigeria’s top first-generation financial institution, First Bank of Nigeria Limited, has announced its partnership with the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBSS) on its recently launched Nigeria Quick Response (NQR) Payment Solution, in a bid to improve customer digital payment experience.

This was revealed by the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of First Bank, Mr Adesola Adeduntan, who noted that the NQR is an innovative payment option implemented for all financial service providers.

“We are delighted with the adoption of the Nigeria Quick Response (NQR) payment solution, an initiative by Nigeria Interbank Settlement System plc (NIBSS) which has been instrumental to easing and promoting payment convenience with the use of mobile phones,” the CEO expressed.

As stated by Mr Adeduntan, the NQR is designed to promote quick and fast transactions by scanning the code on one’s mobile device.

He noted that the NQR is set to promote the vision of the bank, embracing technology to deliver quality and satisfactory services.

“At First Bank, we recognise the indelible role technology plays in promoting businesses across diverse frontiers and we remain committed to reinventing our technology infrastructure to meet global standards whilst being committed to staying true to our mantra in always putting You, our customers First,” he stated.

This new initiative reduces costs for merchants and banks in delivering instant value for a person to business (P2B) and person to person (P2P) transactions by simply scanning to pay.

Unlike other QR schemes, the NQR is implemented with reduced charges that are cheaper for merchants.

The initiative is accessible on the bank’s payment infrastructure as the NQR code can be used to make payments through one’s FirstMobile App and it is also available for the merchant in facilitating their business activities.

The touchpoint and use cases of the NQR payment solution include convenience stores, supermarkets, shopping malls, pharmacies, ride-hailing or taxi payments, bus fares, tolling booths payments, vending machines, e-commerce sites, online businesses amongst many others.

To access the service, customers are expected to launch the FirstMobile App and select QR payment. Afterwards, NIBSS can be chosen as a payment provider, then the seller’s NQR barcode can be scanned.

The amount is inputted for the transaction would be followed by a request for personal identification number (PIN) validation to generate an instant confirmation of the transaction successfully.

On the other hand, merchants are to visit any First Bank branch closest to them for service enrollment.

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Banking

Appzone Relaunches BankOne

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Appzone

By Modupe Gbadeyanka

The digital core banking solution for Africa’s fintechs and Neobanks, BankOne, has been relaunched by Appzone and re-engineered with the functionality expected to drive the exponential growth of fully digital offerings.

This follows Appzone’s Series A raise in April 2021, the largest locally-led raise in Nigeria which repositioned the organization to roll out new innovative offerings that help financial institutions function in a fully digital and automated way.

Having previously built out functionality to automate and run traditional Banking operations, Appzone is now deploying BankOne as a platform for technology-driven financial institutions intending to adopt a 360-degree digital approach that does not involve physical branches or human interaction.

With operations in Nigeria, Ghana, Gambia, and Kenya, BankOne currently hosts over 10 million customer accounts with balances totalling $105 million while managing over $650 Million in annual loan disbursements, and $2.9 billion in total transaction value.

Asides from managing customer records, loans, deposits, and accounting, BankOne provides an omnichannel self-service platform, USSD interfaces, Payment ecosystem integration, agent banking capabilities, and card management services.

These functionalities are available to Fintechs like digital lenders and neobanks, as well as traditional banks like MFIs, mortgage banks, consumer lenders and commercial banks.

Currently, challenger and traditional banks in Africa are limited to using foreign technology solutions tailored for Western markets, and many of these solutions are hindered by prohibitive pricing, poor market fit and a lack of local tech support.

BankOne’s major differentiation lies in its fit-for-purpose functionality and integrations with the local ecosystem of third-party services. These characteristics in addition to ease of customization and availability of local support ensure that the platform seamlessly plugs into the needs of African Banks and Fintechs.

Speaking on the relaunch, the CEO of Appzone Core, Mr Mudiaga Umukoro, said: “For over a decade, BankOne has played an active role in driving the digitization of Nigeria’s financial services industry.

“The platform has now been repositioned to serve the continent’s growing number of Fintechs and neobanks.

“BankOne’s major advantages are market fit and affordability which allow financial institutions deliver highly relevant products at a fraction of cost while leveraging our numerous integrations with mainstream payment systems to achieve instant interoperability with other industry players at no extra cost.”

Originally launched in 2011, BankOne is delivered and run by Appzone Core, a subsidiary of the Appzone Group.

The platform played a significant role in the first digitization phase of Nigeria’s financial sector and came to further prominence and adoption as digital challengers and neo-banks began to emerge.

As Africa rapidly accelerates towards a fully digital banking future, BankOne is being positioned to provide affordable and purpose-built digital infrastructure to enable this transition.

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Banking

Wigwe, Emefiele Get Juris Law Award

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Wigwe Emefiele Juris Law Award

By Modupe Gbadeyanka

For their outstanding contributions to corporate governance and rule of law in Nigeria’s banking industry, Juris Law has honoured the duo of Mr Herbert Wigwe and Mr Godwin Emefiele.

Mr Wigwe is the Chairman of Body of Bank CEOs and Group Managing Director of Access Bank Plc, while Mr Emefiele is the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

They got the award at the 2021 Judges Workshop on Banks and Other Financial Institutions Act (BOFIA) 2020 held on Tuesday, October 12 in Abuja.

Mr Wigwe and Mr Emefiele have partnered in the creation of several positive socio-economic initiatives such as the Creative Industries and Financing Initiative; a loan scheme developed to provide access to long-term and low-interest financing for entrepreneurs in Nigeria.

In addition, they were key parties in the formation of the Coalition Against COVID-19 (CACOVID) – a vehicle created to spearhead corporate Nigeria’s support for the federal government’s fight against the deadly virus.

The successful coalition funded the establishment of response centres, acquisition of medical equipment, supplies and food palliatives for vulnerable Nigerians.

Speaking on the recognition, the Access Bank chief stated that he was honoured to receive the Juris Law award, adding that “through innovative banking initiatives and our underlying sustainability drive, Access Bank will continue to create shared value for all our stakeholders, striking a balance between competitive advantage and corporate social responsibility.”

The 2021 Judges Workshop on Banks and Other Financial Institutions Act (BOFIA) 2020 focused on reforms and the statutory requirements imposed by CBN on all banks and other financial institutions in Nigeria to adopt policies on anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism and cyber security in Nigeria.

Present at the occasion were the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice (AGF), Mr Abubakar Malami (SAN); the Appeal Court President, Justice Monica Dongban-Mensen; the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice John Tsoho; the former Chief Justice of Nigeria and former Chairman, Board of Governors, National Judicial Institute, Justice Mahmud Mohammed and other high ranking judicial officers and the legal community.

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