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Access Bank Grows Closa Agents to 100,000

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Access Closa Agents

By Adedapo Adesanya

A top financial institution, Access Bank Plc, says it has commissioned and empowered 100,000 Access Closa Agents to provide more than banking services to its existing and new customers.

This was disclosed by the Executive Director, Retail Banking, Mr Victor Etuokwu in a statement in Lagos.

He said that this was part of the bank’s commitment to delivering banking services to Nigerians.

“With the current number of Access Closa Agents spread across the 774 Local Government Areas in the country, the bank has significantly grown access to finance and banking services to millions of previously under-banked Nigerians.

“It is providing alternate streams of income for MSMEs, promoting financial literacy and advancing its ambition to bank one in every two Nigerians by 2025,” he said.

Mr Etuokwu said the exponential growth of the bank’s agent network was in fulfilment of its promise to ensure easier and safer access to financial services for every Nigerian.

He said, “As a bank driven by innovation, we must deliver better outcomes for customers in terms of speed, security, and service to enhance the customer experience in all the locations that we operate.

“With the recent achievement of hitting a 100,000 milestone of Access Closa Agents, customers and non-customers of the bank who are travelling for business, events, or to visit loved ones in any location in Nigeria will continue to enjoy uninterrupted banking services.

“Our Closa Agents are available in several rural and semi-urban locations across the country.”

The bank’s Senior Advisor, Retail Banking, Mr Robert Giles, said the bank had a passion and commitment to broadening the opportunities and access to financial services for Nigerians and Africans, irrespective of their locations.

He said customers could locate a Closa Agent near them by simply searching for Access Closa Agent on Google Maps on their phones instead of walking long distances in search of a branch.

“With over 100,000 agent locations spread across every neighbourhood in the country, we are making sure our existing customers and potential customers can enjoy seamless banking services close to where they live and work.

“This is done in a safe and convenient manner by offering basic financial services such as account opening, cash withdrawal, cash deposit, and bill payments.

“Our continuously growing agent network is increasingly making the need to visit a bank branch unnecessary for everyone.

“We are committed to being at the forefront of providing digital financial services in Nigeria,” Mr Giles said.

Adedapo Adesanya is a journalist, polymath, and connoisseur of everything art. When he is not writing, he has his nose buried in one of the many books or articles he has bookmarked or simply listening to good music with a bottle of beer or wine. He supports the greatest club in the world, Manchester United F.C.

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Banking

Finclusion Group Rebrands to Enhance Offerings, Market Footprint

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Finclusion Group

By Adedapo Adesanya 

Finclusion Group has announced a brand integration across its markets to Fin, which will facilitate Fin’s planned expansion into new markets in 2022 and 2023.

As it gets a rebrand, subsidiaries in its core markets will also follow suit, including Fin Kenya (formerly: TrustGro); Fin Tanzania (formerly: Fikia Finance) and Fin South Africa (with its products now being SmartAdvance by Fin, NiftyCredit by Fin, NiftyCover by Fin, MediFin and e-Fin).

With this step, the company is consolidating its footprint across Africa under one identity and highlighting its ambition to be the leading international neobank across Eastern and Southern Africa.

The company is also announcing a further equity injection to fuel growth as it is adding $2 million in equity funding to its $20 million round raised earlier in the year. This funding is led by existing investors Mr Leonard Stiegeler, who is also joining the board of the company, as well as Mr Sudeep Ramnani and Mr Jai Mahtani.

The funding will be used to add new, fully-integrated territories to its business and develop new offerings, specifically in support of microfinance banks wanting to offer more financial services with the help of Fin.

In a statement, Fin said its mission is to enhance the quality of life of its customers through simple, convenient, and appropriate financial services. This is why the Fin team across Africa has chosen its new slogan, Simply Smarter Finance.

Speaking on this, Mr Tonderai Mutesva, Co-Founder and co-CEO of Fin, said, “This brand integration is an important step in cementing Fin as the leader in the neobanking space in East & Southern Africa. We have fantastic leadership and a strong team across our markets, and with our joint brand and platform, we will continue to expand.”

Like other neobanks, Fin is already active across the credit, insurance, BNPL and other financial services space and by presenting its services under one name, the company says it will ensure that its quality offering and customer support are instantly recognized.

Also, this brand integration will facilitate Fin’s planned expansion into new markets in 2022 and 2023 and highlight its quality services to microfinance banks in its markets. Fin will soon offer services to these microfinance banks to enhance their value proposition to customers by allowing for higher credit or better saving tools. The technology behind this offering will be known as Fin Connect and is supported by Fin’s earlier acquisition of the microfinance technology services provider, Awamo.

Fin will also continue to support adjacent businesses in the space through its venture portfolio. Fin Ventures is focused on funding entrepreneurs and startups in Africa within the credit and banking space. These ventures are independently run but can benefit from the company’s expertise. One such venture is mTek-Services, a leading digital insurer in Kenya.

Adding his input, Mr Timothy Nuy, co-founder and co-CEO of Fin, noted that “Fin has been created by a team with proven experience in the African fintech space. I am delighted that our platform can extend this expertise and useful financial tools to our partners.”

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Banking

Cashless Policy: CBN Announces Fresh Cash Withdrawal Limits

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fresh cash withdrawal limits

By Adedapo Adesanya

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has placed new limitations on cash withdrawals from January 9, 2023, following the launch of the redesigned Naira notes by President Muhammadu Buhari last month.

In a letter seen by Business Post on Tuesday, all Deposit Money Banks (DMBS) and Other Financial Institutions (Payment Service Banks (PSBs), Primary Mortgage Banks (PMBs) and Microfinance Banks (MFBs) must not allow individuals and corporates to withdraw more than N100,000 and N500,000, respectively, while cheques above N50,000 shall not be available.

It noted that in line with the cashless policy of the CBN, all financial institutions must comply with the directives, which include, “The maximum cash withdrawal over-the-counter (OTC) by individuals and corporate organizations per week shall henceforth be N100,000 and N500,000 respectively.

The apex bank noted that individuals and companies intending to go above the fresh cash withdrawal limits should be ready to pay processing fees of 5 per cent and 10 per cent, respectively.

“Third-party cheques above N50,000 shall not be eligible for payment over the counter, while extant limits of N10,000,000 on clearing cheques still subsist.

“The maximum cash withdrawal per week via Automated Teller Machine (ATM)) shall be N100,000, subject to a maximum of 20,000 cash withdrawals per day. Only denominations of N200 and below shall be loaded into the ATMs.

“The maximum cash withdrawal via point of sale (POS) terminal shall be N20,000 daily.”

In compelling circumstances, not exceeding once a month, where cash withdrawals above the prescribed limits are required for legitimate purposes, the apex bank noted that such must not exceed N5 million and N10 million for individuals and corporate organisations, respectively.

It noted that this should be subject to the referenced processing fees in addition to enhanced due diligence and further information requirements.

The CBN noted that the financial institutions are required to obtain the following information at the minimum and upload the same on a portal created for the purpose, including a valid means of identification of the payee (National ID, International Passport, Driver’s License).

Others include the Bank Verification Number (BVN) of the payee, notarized customer declaration of the purpose for the cash withdrawal, and senior management approval for the withdrawal by the Managing Director of the drawee, where applicable, as well as the approval in writing by the MD/CEO of the bank authorising the withdrawal.

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Banking

CBN, Stakeholders to Check Rising Wave of Cyber Attacks

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rising cyber attacks

By Adedapo Adesanya

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has assured information security stakeholders and the general public of its commitment to curb the rising cases of cyber attacks within Nigeria’s cyberspace.

This was disclosed by the Director of the Payments System Management Department of the CBN, Mr Musa Jimoh, in his keynote address at the annual Information Security Society of Africa – Nigeria (ISSAN) Cybersecurity Conference in Lagos.

He stated that the apex bank was firmly committed to building a sustainable payments ecosystem in the country.

He also commended ISSAN for organizing the event, stressing that the apex bank will continue to collaborate with organisations that are committed to addressing the rising activities of cyber attacks.

Also speaking, the President of the FinTech Association of Nigeria (FinTechNGR), Mr Ade Bajomo, said to adequately address the rising rate of cyber attacks, organisations should embrace collaboration and information sharing on cyber breaches.

According to him, keeping silence on the part of organizations that had been attacked would not help others, stressing that full disclosure, synergy, and information sharing on reported cyber-attacks and how it was managed would guide other organizations to put preventive and countermeasures in place.

He also called on organizations to constantly upgrade their technology to counter cyber-attacks, urging them to have a data backup.

On his part, the president of ISSAN, Mr David Isiavwe, said the conference was devoted to further exposing the new threats and trends in the cyber security space and also offering practical steps on what businesses and individuals need to know and do to check the rising tide of the activities of cyber-criminals.

He observed that cyber attackers are getting more sophisticated globally, which is an aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, stressing that greater awareness must be created to minimize attacks on businesses that may result in losses by various organizations.

Further, Mr Isiavwe, who is also General Manager at Ecobank, made a case for customer awareness as well as a collaboration by all stakeholders.

ISSAN is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the protection of Nigeria’s cyberspace, specifically and the entire cyberspace in Africa, generally.

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