By Modupe Gbadeyanka
For rewarding its Agency Banking partners, also known as Xpress Point Agents across the six geo-political zones of the country, Ecobank Nigeria has been applauded.
According to observers, the financial institution has taken a step to further deepen financial inclusion in the country as the beneficiaries and those who missed out will want to do more.
Recently, Ecobank Nigeria gave mouth-watering gifts to a total of 18 agents selected across the geopolitical zones of the country based on their transaction counts and value from January to September 2020.
The Head of Agency Banking at Ecobank Nigeria, Mrs Nike Kolawole, explained that it was expedient to recognise and reward agents across the country for their tenacity, also knowing that they are helping to drive the Ecobank’s financial inclusion strategy in Nigeria.
It was gathered that the winners were rewarded with 40-inch televisions while second and third winners went home with refrigerators and generating sets, respectively.
She added that the aim of the Xpress Point is to let every Nigerian and household have access to Ecobank services within their neighbourhood to provide easy banking services.
“We are happy with our Xpress point agents, knowing they are playing a critical role in helping us reach out to the unbanked and underbanked in the society.
“They are bringing more people to the banking space through their services. They carry out financial transactions on our behalf and earn commission on every transaction processed.
“The consumer experience is very good as customers can do simple deposit, payment and transfers in their own neighbourhood rather than travel for hours to a bank branch.
“The Xpress Point is also a channel that is also being used for the deployment of national social intervention programmes of the government,” she said.
Mrs Kolawole listed the services offered by the Xpress point agents as; cash in, cash out, fund transfer, bills payment, airtime recharge, remittance and account opening, among others.
She added that the services are available for “sole proprietors, partnerships, co-operative societies, microfinance banks, companies with large distribution network – like petrol stations, FMCGs, telecommunication companies, super agents, aggregators and unregistered businesses such as petty traders, hair salon and others.
“Most of the agents that benefited from the reward scheme expressed appreciation to the bank with a promise to contribute more to the agency banking of the bank.”
Meanwhile, Ecobank is already preparing for its digital financial inclusion summit on October 21 and according Mrs Kolawole, “These are all parts of our efforts as a bank to help more Africans embrace entrepreneurship as best strategy to tackle poverty and address growing unemployment.”
CIBN to Revamp Banking Practice in Nigeria With A-TEAM Initiative
By Aduragbemi Omiyale
A strategic initiative aimed to revamp banking practice in Nigeria has been introduced by the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN).
The new plan with the acronym A-TEAM means Accelerated Development; Technology and Digital Enhancement; Engagement for Growth; Accountability and Transparent Leadership and Membership Drive for Value.
As part of efforts for its successful implementation, the CIBN is seeking collaborations with financial institutions in the country.
Recently, the President/Chairman of Council, CIBN, Mr Bayo Olugbemi, visited Ecobank Nigeria and he said the A-TEAM initiative will benefit stakeholders in the banking sector.
He applauded Ecobank’s consistent support for the institute over the years to ensure the realisation of its mandate of determining the standards of knowledge and skills development for those seeking to become members of the banking profession.
“We applaud Ecobank Academy as the first corporate member to become a member of the Global Business School Network and for the consistent support for the realisation of the institute’s mandate of determining the standards of knowledge and skills to be attained by persons seeking to become members of the banking profession.
“We, therefore, seek Ecobank’s collaboration and enlistment in our Endowment/Prize Awards in any subject of interest; support towards the renovation of Abuja Bankers’ House; support for the establishment of banking museum by donating artefacts and other relevant materials; and to participate actively in training programmes of the institute,” Mr Olugbemi said.
Further, he congratulated Ecobank Nigeria and the Ecobank Group on winning several International awards, which includes the Best Retail Bank in Nigeria by Asian Banker; Africa’s Best Bank for Corporate Responsibility by Euromoney (Ecobank Group); African Bank of the Year (African Banker); Innovation in Financial Services Award from African Banker (Ecobank Group); EMEA Finance African Banking Awards 2020.
Responding, the Managing Director of Ecobank Nigeria, Mr Patrick Akinwuntan, pledged more support and collaboration with the institute, restating that Ecobank will continue to contribute to the efforts of the organisation to become top class and remain relevant globally.
“For us at Ecobank, we are extremely proud CIBNs efforts at ensuring public discourse on the future of the Nigeria economy and the banking and finance industry.
“This is not in isolation of the ethics, professionalism, accountability, transparency, good corporate governance without losing focus of harnessing the opportunities technology has provided in the new world order. Be assured of our maximum support and collaboration at all times,” he said.
Mr Akinwuntan also identified with the efforts of the institute to raise the bar of competency and capacity building in the industry, stressing that with sound professional conduct, every banker will be held in high esteem.
He said Ecobank was working assiduously to ensure a majority of its staff become members of the institute, adding that the bank will also provide more mentees and mentors in its mentorship programme.
“We have a medium to long term programme to ensure all Ecobank Nigeria staff become chartered members of the institute.
“At Ecobank, we take human capacity development very seriously. Some of our staff that wrote the last examinations are now chartered members of the Institute.
“We will also ensure bulk subscription of our staff. We will be nominating 30 mentors and 100 mentees to participate in the second mentorship programme,” he assured.
VBank Brightens Spirits at Lagos NYSC Orientation Camp
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
The National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) orientation camp in Lagos was recently brightened by VFD Microfinance Bank, owners of the 2020 banking app of the year, VBank.
The financial institution, for 10 days, entertained corps members and officials alike at their Games Veelage, an arcade set up with interesting games including snooker, Jenga, fuss ball, chess, scrabble, snakes & ladders and video games.
At the climax last Sunday, 15 NYSC members won N150,000 in cash prizes, while others received loads of consolation gifts.
Dayo Osborne, Gbenga Benedict, Olamide Ojedele, and Joseph Eweje were some of the winners of the N20,000 cash prize category and were rewarded instantly via transfer from the digital banking app, VBank.
While onboarding the graduates on the banking platform, the brand created an avenue for the Batch A Stream 2A corps members to relax after their usual daily camp routine.
The bank had equally sponsored the inter-platoon games night which took place days before, gifting participants cash transfers using the app’s Proximity Payment feature.
According to Ebere Ahaotu, Product Manager, VBank, “It is our little way of encouraging young people to keep hope alive.
“Camp life can be hectic and VBank is all about ease and convenience so why not brighten up their camp experience, introduce them to a better way to bank and assist them with some funds to transport them to their places of primary assignment. It’s about paying it forward.”
The corps members have since been posted to different places of assignment within the state while another stream gets ready for camp in July.
Ecobank Describes Women as Bedrock of Entrepreneurship
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
The role women play in entrepreneurship cannot be downplayed and this is why Ecobank Nigeria has thrown its full weight behind the Selfmade Woman Conference (SMWC) 2021.
The Managing Director of Ecobank Nigeria, Mr Patrick Akinwuntan, in a statement from the lender, said women are the bedrock of entrepreneurship and most families.
He said partnering with a notable media entrepreneur and blogger, Ms Linda Ikeji, to host the event slated for Saturday, June 19, 2021, in Lagos was in line with the bank’s empowerment policy for women.
According to him, the challenges facing the nation have made it more imperative to recognise the potentials in women and develop them.
“Our decision to support Linda Ikeji conference aligns with our women empowerment policy. As a bank, we have been playing a leading role in this respect,” Mr Akinwuntan said.
Business Post reports that the event is taking place at the Federal Palace Hotel, Victoria Island, and the speakers include Tara Durotoye, renowned beauty and make-up entrepreneur; Dr Ola Brown, founder of the Flying Doctors Healthcare Investment Company; and Dr Nancy Nnadi, serial entrepreneur and CEO of Telecom Distribution Company.
Other guest speakers are Tomie Balogun, investment expert and fintech entrepreneur; Sola Adesakin, finance coach and chartered accountant; Kemi Adetiba, filmmaker and content creator; and TV star, Dorathy Bachor.
They will provide actionable strategies and hope to women who would like to start their own businesses, enhance their impact in various industries or broaden their creative roles in traditional industries.
Speaking further on the various supports the bank has offered to entrepreneurs, Mr Akinwuntan said, “As you know, we have a long-standing partnership with Tera Kulture, that is Bolanle Austen Peters who has come out with various movies such as Bling Lagosians, Moremi The Musical, Fela and the Kalakuta Queens, The Oluronbi Musical and others.
“Recently, we also supported The Wait, a movie inspired by the popular book from renowned lawyer and entrepreneur, Yewande Zaccheaus.
“We are also currently working with the Ogun state government to promote the Adire industry which is also primarily women-driven.
“In the agricultural industry, we have supported the Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP) of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) across the six regions of the country to reach out to farmers, especially the womenfolk to support them financially to increase their farm size and yield capacity through the introduction of new techniques.
“Let me also add that Ecobank has a women empowerment programme Ellevate for women in Business; this will be publicly launched across the country in July.
“With Ellevate, we want to ensure we raise and recognize our women for the significant role they have always played to ensure a better society for us all.”
The Linda Ikeji Self-Made Woman, which debuted in 2013, is an advocacy project with the sole aim to mentor and provide financial empowerment to young female entrepreneurs or aspiring ones.
It is mainly to build stronger economies and improve the quality of life for women, men, families and communities.
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