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Ecobank Assists Business Owners with Unified Digital Payment Solution

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By Dipo Olowookere

One of the top lenders in Africa, Ecobank Nigeria, has introduced Africa’s first unified digital payment solution aimed to help business owners grow their customer base.

The new innovation is called Ecobank Pay and is a multi-featured digital payment solution built as a core part of Ecobank’s digital financial services ecosystem approach and will deliver unified and instant self-service across a range of interconnected payment solutions.

It can be used by all businesses from small informal micro merchants to large corporates as well as governments, allowing them to offer easy and convenient payment options to their customers in-store or online.

Ecobank Pay includes a rebrand of the Ecobank Scan+Pay QR offering, which allows customers to pay in-store via the Ecobank mobile app. Merchants can now also speedily sign-up for their QR merchant code via the Masterpass QR for Merchant functionality on Facebook Messenger.

As the Ecobank Pay ecosystem expands, it will unify all of Ecobank’s digital payment offerings for internet payments, eCommerce, paying bills via mobile and airtime top via mobile.

The Ecobank Pay QR offering or Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) will continue to allow customers of any bank in Nigeria or beyond, to make payments for goods and services, using their mobile banking app to Scan+Pay with MasterPass, Visa or mCash as the means of payment.

mCash allows merchants to receive payments from their customers on one single Merchant Terminal ID for both Scan+Pay and USSD through the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBSS) mCash service by dialling *402#.

For Ecobank Pay Scan+Pay (via MasterPass and Visa) as well as USSD, merchants will receive instant credit on their account with Ecobank. This digital payment solution is targeted at small informal micro merchants, registered small and medium size merchant businesses, corporate and institutional merchants operating in-store or online, as well utilising the social media platform of Facebook Messenger to sign up for QR technology.

“Ecobank is committed to simplifying doing business for the people it serves, and Ecobank Pay is a payment solution channel that will make payments easier, faster, convenient and more secure,” commented Mr Charles Kie, Managing Director, Ecobank Nigeria.

“As an enhanced payment platform, it will make business cash flow easier to manage and will help to grow sales as it accepts payment from any mobile phone user at anytime and anywhere, whilst improving both convenience and the client experience.  It has no initial transaction charges and is a cost-effective alternative to POS terminals as payments are directly authenticated, pushed and approved by the customers buying the goods or services, therefore limiting the risk of chargebacks or disputes.”

The clear advantages of Ecobank Pay is that everyone can use it regardless of size, and the value it brings through the digital QR code technology that will enable businesses to access more financial services and grow.

Mr Patrick Akinwuntan, Group Executive, Consumer Banking, Ecobank Transnational Incorporated, says: “The merchant receives instant credit for all transactions as opposed to the current transaction day plus one (T+1) of a POS transaction. Customers can make payment from any type of mobile phone and notification is provided through SMS, the merchant app and the merchant portal. Ecobank Pay is an innovative, cost-effective and convenient digital payment solution that will enable businesses to enjoy quick settlement, grow sales, increase customer loyalty and make it easier for them to expand into new markets.”

Mr Akintwuntan called on businesses and organisations to embrace cashless payments and calls on religious organisations, government agencies, transport companies, telecom service providers, agency banking service providers, financial payment facilitators, the hospitality, leisure and entertainment sector, e-Commerce and utility companies and all others to harness the opportunities and advantages of solutions like Ecobank Pay, which will move Nigeria and Africa into a more cashless and financially inclusive society. These, and many other business sectors, can embrace the convenience, speed and security of Ecobank’s innovative digital payment solutions.

Dipo Olowookere is a journalist based in Nigeria that has passion for reporting business news stories. At his leisure time, he watches football and supports 3SC of Ibadan. Mr Olowookere can be reached via dipo.olowookere@businesspost.ng

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Banking

London Stock Exchange Lists Ecobank Nigeria’s $300m Bond

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Ecobank London Stock Exchange

By Aduragbemi Omiyale

The five-year fixed rate senior unsecured $300 million bond issued by Ecobank Nigeria Limited has begun trading on the floor of the London Stock Exchange (LSE).

This followed the listing of the corporate debt instrument on the respected trading platform on Thursday via a virtual ceremony witnessed by officials of the exchange and the financial institution.

The paper has an issuer rating of B- from Fitch Rating agency and S&P, while Citi, Mashreq, Renaissance Capital and Standard Chartered Bank acted as joint lead managers and book runners.

Business Post reports that the note carries a coupon rate of 7.125 per cent, significantly below its Initial Price Thoughts of 7.75 per cent.

The successful launch was three times oversubscribed and is the lowest coupon/yield by a Nigerian financial institution for a benchmark bond transaction since 2013.

“The strong demand for our bond shows the international appetite for the Ecobank franchise in Nigeria, its unique positioning for facilitating pan-Africa trade and the attractive opportunity for the many investors seeking to back world-class Nigerian corporates,” the Managing Director of Ecobank Nigeria, Mr Patrick Akinwuntan, said.

It was gathered that proceeds will provide medium-term funding and help to enhance the capacity of the bank to support international trade and service across Africa.

Ecobank Nigeria, a subsidiary of Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (ETI), the parent company of the Ecobank Group, provides the full suite of banking products, services and solutions through multiple channels to retail, commercial, corporate and public sector customers.

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Banking

Keystone Bank Boosts Lagos Environmental Sanitation

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By Modupe Gbadeyanka

The Lagos State government’s environmental sanitation efforts recently received a huge boost when the new intakes of Keystone Bank Limited donated some kits to the Lagos State Waste Management Authority (LAWMA).

The new employees, who recently graduated from the bank’s training school, The Keystone Bank Learning Academy Lagos, gave the agency 60 units of street sweepers’ uniforms.

This is aimed to boost the morale of the personnel, who work hard to keep the city very clean and it was part of the bank’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) drive.

“Keystone Bank is committed to sustainability and therefore has made it a point of duty for our trainees (newly hired fresh graduates) to buy into this concept from the elementary stage of their banking career.

“Each set of banking school trainees are made to carry out a specific CSR project, which they must fund to enable them to learn the act of giving back to the society,” the Head of Learning Academy at Keystone Bank, Mr Bimbo Alabi, was quoted as saying in a statement issued by the financial institution.

He added that Keystone Bank was keenly aware that the burden of keeping the environment clean cannot be left to the state government alone, hence the intervention by the bank.

“At Keystone Bank, we are always willing to partner with organisations that are committed to keeping the environment clean, especially in the communities where we operate.

“We cannot live a healthy life, conduct business, and create wealth amidst a sick environment,” Mr Alabi noted.

While receiving the uniforms from the Keystone Bank trainees, the Managing Director of LAWMA, Mr Ibrahim Odumboni, commended the lender for being alive to its CSR in partnering with the state government to keep the environment clean.

Mr Odumboni further called on other corporate bodies to emulate the gesture of Keystone Bank for the benefit of the larger society.

The Keystone Bank Learning Academy is a full-fledged certified and accredited learning and development centre, responsible for the continuous building of skills and the expansion of the knowledge base of new and existing workers of the bank.

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SEC DG Pushes for Sustainability, Safety, Soundness of Banking Sector

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By Modupe Gbadeyanka

The need to ensure the sustainability, safety and soundness of the banking and finance industry has been emphasised by the Director-General of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Mr Lamido Yuguda.

To achieve this, the capital market expert has advised senior bankers in the nation’s banking sector to mentor the younger generation.

According to him, their commitment to mentoring the younger generation would go a long way in actualising the objectives of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN)’s mentoring scheme.

Mr Yuguda, who was a guest at the CIBN mentoring scheme tagged Mentoring: Unlocking Career Potentials and Possibilities in Lagos over the weekend, noted that, “Let me use this opportunity to encourage senior bankers to collaborate with CIBN in actualising the objectives of the mentoring scheme. Your commitment to mentoring the younger generation will go a long way in ensuring the sustainability safety and soundness of the banking industry.

“To the young bankers, I enjoin you to make the best use of this rare opportunity! I am confident that with the cooperation of all stakeholders, the CIBN mentoring scheme will be a point of reference for others,” he further said.

The SEC boss stated that to be a successful professional, one must be ambitious, willing to go the extra mile, try to be a value enhancer and must be outstanding.

He said that such a person must be teachable and willing to learn from other persons who are deemed successful in the same career path.

According to him, it is critical for young bankers to be mentored by seasoned senior colleagues as they progress in their careers because the banking profession is predicated on trust and professionalism.

Mr Yuguda said these values could be taught but are actually reinforced when demonstrated by senior bankers and emulated by their younger colleagues.

“Due to the peculiarities of the banking industry, it is easy for young bankers to get distracted with the prestige and sometimes material benefits that come with the profession.

“However, mentorship relationships help to keep such young professionals grounded and focused on building character, advancing their knowledge, growing their professional network and cultivating the right values.

“This is important because what makes success sustainable for a professional is a combination of skill, experience and the right values,” the SEC director-general said.

Earlier, the CIBN President, Mr Bayo Olugbemi, said that the institute had identified mentoring as a potent tool for bridging the gap between learning and doing.

“Esteemed audience, the changing times requires that we do things differently; the changing times require that we do things differently.

“At the CIBN, we believe so much that to maintain safety, soundness and stability of the banking industry, the human capital has a pivotal role to play in this wise.

“We have identified mentoring as a potent tool for bridging the gap between learning and doing.

“In order to uphold ethics and professionalism which is the hallmark of our banking industry and our great institute, accomplished and experienced bankers need to mentor the young and upcoming ones in order to sustain the ideals of our industry,” he said.

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Banking

Ecobank, Small World Sign Remittances Deal

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By Ahmed Rahma

The desire to expand its remittances reach within Africa, Europe and other parts of the world has made a leading international money transfer provider, Small World Financial Services (Small World). to sign a deal with Ecobank Group 

Small World believes that its partnership with the leading lender in Africa will accelerate the growth of its global customer base as well as its 250,000 pick-up locations.

However, both parties will benefit from the partnership and will further boost financial inclusion in Africa.

It was gathered that Small World customers can now have access to the unparalleled Ecobank Africa-wide network in three ways which include direct transfer to bank accounts; mobile wallet; and cash pick up at any Ecobank location.

Ecobank will make available the Ecobank Xpress Account for the recipients of remittances sent by Small World.

“We are delighted to be forging a partnership with Ecobank.

“It is a leading bank in Africa with over 50,000locations in the region which means our global customers get access to even more ways to send money home to African countries.

“Importantly, Ecobank shares our commitment in delivering great customer service alongside providing fast, affordable and reliable transfers,” the founder of Small World, Nick Day, said.

Also commenting, the Ecobank Group Consumer Banking Head, Nana Araba Abban, stated that, “We’re proud to offer seamless payments across our vast borderless network in Africa.

“At Ecobank, we value partnerships, such as this, that enable Africans in the diaspora to remit money affordably and conveniently.

“This provides a win-win partnership as Ecobank can offer banking services to Africans wherever they are on the globe.

”Ecobank shares Small World’s commitment of making financial services seamless, convenient, and interoperable across Africa.”

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Banking

WorldRemit Lauds CBN’s USD Bank Account Opening Policy

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By Ahmed Rahma

A leading cross-border digital payments service, WorldRemit, has strictly adhered to the directive of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) that all banks should facilitate money transfers by automatically opening US dollar accounts.

The apex bank also stated that a $2,000 withdrawal limit will apply to these accounts, explaining that it was to ensure that transactions do not fail due to a recipient not having a US dollar bank account.

According to the central bank, this development will also promote transparency by guaranteeing that all recipients receive an exchange rate that reflects the market rate.

Reacting to this policy, the Country Manager of Nigeria and Ghana at WorldRemit, Mr Gbenga Okejimi, said they were very pleased by the CBN’s decision to mandate Nigerian banks to help citizens who do not have a USD account by automatically providing this facility on their behalf.

“This development will make all the difference to those who receive support from family and friends abroad.

“For our part, we are excited by the fact that we can continue to enable the transfer of remittances to more people across Nigeria whilst also supporting the Nigerian government in its efforts to strengthen the economy,” Okejimi said.

“When our founder came up with the idea to create WorldRemit, it was with the ultimate goal of ensuring that the diaspora community could send money back home easily and through a safe platform.

“I am proud to say that we are constantly evolving, innovating and adapting to ensure that our customers’ needs are met efficiently,” he said.

WorldRemit recently announced the expansion of its US Dollar payout option with nine of its existing bank partners. This development makes it an International Money Transfer Organizations (IMTO) with one of the broadest and largest USD payout networks in Nigeria.

Customers of FCMB, First Bank, Access Bank, Fidelity Bank, GT Bank and UBA can now also access USD payout through the bank transfer and cash pickup options.

Those receiving transfers into Union Bank, Polaris Bank and Zenith Bank accounts can access USD payout only through the cash pickup option.

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Comviva’s Banking Suite Gets Omdia’s Recognition

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Comviva mobiquity Banking Suite

By Modupe Gbadeyanka

Another feather was added to the already-beautifully decorated cap of Comviva as its banking suite designed by mobiquity was given a mention in research from Omdia.

Omdia, formerly known as Ovum, is one of the world’s leading research and consultancy companies and in its report, it emphasised the role being played by Comviva’s mobiquity banking suite in the global digital banking ecosystem.

In the study titled Omdia Universe: Selecting a Digital Banking Platform, 2020–21 Comviva was ranked high on “customer experience” and its mobiquity® Banking Suite judged to be a “very innovative solution” based on recommendations from clients.

The report highlighted that Comviva has an agile platform and a team that can react quickly to industry trends and has the capability to innovate at a faster pace without being burdened with cumbersome legacy product solutions.

Comviva’s particular strength lies in supporting a variety of payment rails including digital wallets, P2P payments, QR codes, and A2A payments, and a modular architecture which has been built keeping instant payments in mind.

Speaking on the recognition, Srinivas Nidugondi, EVP and COO, Digital Financial Solutions at Comviva said, “We are thrilled to be listed by one of the world’s leading research and consultancy company Omdia in their report Omdia Universe: Selecting a Digital Banking Platform, 2020–21.

“This mention is a testimony to the fact that we are delivering world-class digital banking solution to our clients.

“We are proud that our mobiquity® Banking Suite is helping multiple banks in Asia Pacific, Middle East, Africa and Latin America to deliver digital-first banking experience to consumers creating value for them.”

The Comviva’s mobiquity® Banking Suite provides a comprehensive solution to banks and financial institutions to build, manage, optimize and deliver the multi-channel banking experience, as well as continuously iterate and engage the consumers, through instant configuration capability, personalization and experimentation engine.

It also delivers seamless, swift and secure digital payments to the customers, by facilitating prepaid wallet and leveraging technologies such as HCE, tokenization and QR Code.

The report gives a detailed and holistic view of the leading vendors, to help the CIO, heads of digital, and digital channel executives select the digital banking platforms that fulfil their specific digital transformation ambitions.

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