By Ashemiriogwa Emmanuel
In response to the recent directive from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) that all Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) should make necessary arrangements to sell foreign currencies to retail customers, various commercial banks have swung into action and have set up teller points across their branches nationwide.
These dedicated teller points are to meet the legitimate foreign exchange (FX) demands of retail customers, following the CBN stoppage of FX sales to Bureaux De Change (BDCs).
Customers who want to buy Personal Travel Allowance (PTA), Business Travel Allowance (BTA), pay international school fees, foreign medical bills, make SME transactions and every other qualifying foreign exchange (FX) transaction, will now have to approach the banks to get them.
Business Post gathered most of the licenced DMBs have adhered to the CBN directive, including Guaranty Trust Bank (GTBank) Limited, First Bank of Nigeria, United Bank for Africa Plc (UBA), Fidelity Bank Plc, Ecobank, amongst others.
Notices of the above lenders tracked by this newspaper showed that they have encouraged customers who need FX should visit their respective branches. They said the customers must be 18 years and above and have a Bank Verification Number (BVN).
Applicants must also possess a valid Nigerian passport with a valid visa and a valid international return ticket with travel date, not more than 14 days from the date of PTA/BTA purchase.
Furthermore, the PTA request is limited to a maximum of $4,000 per quarter per applicant.
Customers applying for international school fees payment can apply themselves through their parent/guardian with a valid BVN.
The banks have indicated their firm commitment to treating customer’s foreign exchange requests instantly while exchanging at the prevailing CBN rate.
“Kindly walk into any of our branches nationwide to buy your PTA. BTA, pay your international school fees, foreign medical bills, SME Form Q transactions and every other qualifying foreign exchange transaction.
“We will treat your foreign exchange requests instantly. This means that you will get your FX the same day in cash and in the case of school fees and medical bills payment, to the stipulated beneficiary offshore.
“Please note that this is subject to you providing all the required documentation for these transactions,” a notice from GTBank said.
As for First Bank, it said it would honour PTA of up to $4,000 and BTA of up to $5,000 as long as customers possess the necessary documents.
“Life can be filled with so many uncertainties and challenges however, getting up to $4,000 as your PTA and $5,000 for your BTA quarterly shouldn’t be stressful if you meet [the] criteria.
“With our Visa Debit Multi-Currency Card, you can transact business anywhere in the world, whether in Naira, Dollars, Pound Sterling or Euro, all on one debit card,” the lender said.
On its part, Fidelity Bank said to make the process easier, it has “put in place electronic transaction alert system that will provide a status update on your request,” adding that “all FX sales will be in your preferred foreign currency at the prevailing CBN rate.”
In its message to customers, UBA said it has established “dedicated teller points for FX transactions at all UBA branches nationwide,” stressing that “to be eligible, you must not have been paid a total of $4,000 or its equivalent within the quarter.”
For Ecobank, it notified its customers that all its branches had been put on notice to ensure smooth FX sales to eligible customers, assuring that their requests would be honoured timely and at competitive rates.
Standard Chartered Introduces Smart Business Loan
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
A credit facility package targeted at small business owners in Nigeria called Smart Business Loan (SBL) has been introduced by Standard Chartered Bank.
The product was designed to help players in the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) sector meet their short to medium-term needs. It is an unsecured instalment/term loan to business banking clients within key target sectors.
A statement from the lender explained that qualified business banking clients will be able to access up to N20 million loan without providing tangible security/collateral to purchase assets, finance business expansion and other capital expenditure needs.
The maximum tenor for the credit facility is two years, Business Post gathered.
Before now, customers were required to provide full collateral cover to access loans from the bank’s business banking segment but SBL provides the necessary flexibility to its clients.
“As a bank, our purpose is to drive commerce and prosperity in the locations we operate in. This is done through offering cash, lending, trade and wealth management solutions that specifically drive economic growth,” the Head of Consumer, Private and Business Banking (CPBB), at Standard Chartered Bank Nigeria, Mr David Idoru, stated.
“Within our CPBB, the promotion of commerce is largely done through our business banking segment by banking SMEs.
“We are constantly looking for ways to ensure our clients get access to the needed support to enable their businesses to thrive and SBL provides the necessary flexibility for business growth,” Mr Idoru added.
DLM Capital Praises Employees for Global Finance Award
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
Employees of DLM Capital Group, a leading developmental investment bank in Nigeria, have been applauded for the award received by the company recently.
DLM Capital was named the Best Development Finance Company Nigeria 2021 by the Global Banking and Finance Review magazine.
The honour was in recognition of the institution’s dedication to providing leadership and excellence in Nigeria’s development finance space.
While commenting on the award, the Head of Investment Banking at DLM Capital, Mr Emeka Ngene, said the honour was made possible as a result of the continuous collaboration of the DLM community.
“It is indeed an honour to receive this recognition from such a prestigious body as Global Banking and Finance Awards.
“We are pleased to be associated with this award which speaks to our dedication and hard work in addition to the expertise and innovative solutions we have implemented over the years.
“This further demonstrates our commitment to designing and implementing developmental funding solutions for the development of the country.
“We are therefore dedicating this award to our team for their continuous support in ensuring that DLM Capital thrives in its pursuit to push the frontiers of developmental capital market solutions in the Nigerian financial ecosystem.
“We are delighted once again to have been identified for our accomplishments among other players across the continent,” he stated.
Since 2011, the Global Banking & Finance Awards has honoured companies that stand out in their various areas of expertise in the banking and finance industry, thereby recognizing the accomplishments and significant revolutions that emerge every year within the global finance community.
Ecobank Offers Back-to-School Loan Packages to Parents
By Aduragbemi Omiyale
The desire to ease the financial burdens of parents and guardians as regards the payment of school fees of their children and wards for the 2021/2022 school year has made Ecobank Nigeria come up with affordable loan packages.
The Head of Consumer Banking at Ecobank Nigeria, Mrs Korede Demola-Adeniyi, explained that the introduction of the credit facility is in line with the lender’s overall strategy to support the development of the nation’s education sector.
A statement from the financial institution disclosed that the loan packages were designed under its back-to-school initiatives and are also available to school owners through special infrastructure loans.
“As a bank that has the interest of its customers at heart especially at this period when schools resume, we understand the importance of education. Children deserve to go to school and we are making it easy for parents to provide them with this basic right,” she said.
Speaking specifically on the loans available for the educational institutions, she noted that they could be accessed without bottlenecks as the bank has taken into cognisance the harsh effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mrs Demola-Adeniyi urged schools to appoint the bank as their preferred financial institution for payments and collections, noting that Ecobank has demonstrated pedigree and expertise in fees collection, locally and internationally.
She further encouraged schools and individuals that are yet to open Ecobank accounts to do so in order to access the offers available.
The banker also said Ecobank’s digital offerings are targeted at reducing the financial burden on parents, students and schools, and also facilitating the ease of payment of fees without hassles.
She listed the digital offerings to include Ecobank Mobile App, EcobankPay and Ecobank Online for contactless fees payment; personal loans and salary advance packages at competitive interest rates, international transfers for offshore school fees payment and affordable remittance offerings.
Mrs Demola-Adeniyi also noted that families abroad who wish to send money home to help with fees can do so at zero charges on the Rapidtransfer app.
The bank has also provided the banking-for-school pack for educational institutions to access working capital and loans. The features of this pack include easy fee collections, zero charges on collection accounts with EcobankPay, secure online banking with Omni Lite and cards for easy payments.
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