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Ecobank Sees Economic Growth in Fintech, Banks, Telcos Collabo

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Ecobank Nigeria

By Modupe Gbadeyanka

If Fintech, banks and telecommunications companies can work together more, Nigeria could experience huge economic growth, the Managing Director of Ecobank Nigeria, Mr Patrick Akinwuntan, has opined.

The reputable banker maintained that for Nigeria Fintechs to accelerate positive disruption for value, there is a strong need to develop talents, solve a problem beyond payments, monetize data and challenge the status quo.

Mr Akinwuntan, who made this submission at the Nigeria Fintech Week themed Evolving Economic Disruptions; Fintech as a Solution, stressed that efforts must be for the establishment digital school of Fintech to groom talents, deepen skills for businesses and grow knowledge of the financial services industry.

“We must take the lead to introduce a continent-wide Bank Verification Number (BVN) and Global Standing Instruction (GSI) for Africa under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCTA) agreement, champion blockchain for cross-border payments in agriculture, education, and the government i.e. leveraging technology for better productivity.” He also emphasized that we must look at ways to improve cybersecurity & defence,” he said in his keynote address.

The bank chief informed participants of the event that the industry is sitting on a trove of data as big data can be leveraged to create values for customers including adopting superior user experience and interface for affordable payment and improved credit access.

According to him, with a Pan African reach, award-winning capabilities, and a customer base of over 25 million, Ecobank is enabling and partnering with Fintech platforms across the continent.

He noted that Ecobank’s flagship pan African switch connects countries where it operates across Africa. This centralized switch allows easy integration, enabling instant transfers between 33 African countries while offering real-time settlement across Africa in 18 local currencies.

President of the Nigeria Fintech Association, Dr Olusegun Aina, while speaking, stated that with the economic vulnerability following the COVID-19, Fintechs are undoubtedly the solution to the current disruptions. He said we must as a country position digitally, as digital readiness will spur our recovery in 2021 and beyond.

Modupe Gbadeyanka is a fast-rising journalist with Business Post Nigeria. Her passion for journalism is amazing. She is willing to learn more with a view to becoming one of the best pen-pushers in Nigeria. Her role models are the duo of CNN's Richard Quest and Christiane Amanpour.

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Banking

Airtel Commences SmartCash Payment Operations in Nigeria

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SmartCash Payment

By Adedapo Adesanya

Airtel Africa has announced that its subsidiary, SmartCash Payment Service Bank Limited (SmartCash PSB), has commenced operations in Nigeria.

Services will initially be available at selected retail touchpoints, and operations will be expanded gradually across the country over the next few months.

Speaking on the development, Mr Segun Ogunsanya, Airtel Africa chief executive officer, said, “I am very excited to announce our commencement of operations for financial services in Nigeria through SmartCash PSB. This is the beginning of our journey to revolutionise the financial services landscape in the country.

“To help further digitise the economy, and most importantly to help bank the unbanked by reaching the millions of Nigerians who do not currently have access to financial services by delivering current and savings accounts, payment and remittance services, debit and prepayment cards and more sophisticated services.”

This is coming less than one month after the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) granted the company the license to operate mobile money services in the country.

The licence will enable the telco to expand its digital financial products and reach the millions of Nigerians that do not currently have access to traditional financial services.

It will also be able to augment plans by the Nigerian Government, the CBN, and traditional financial institutions to further deepen financial inclusion in the country for the benefit of all citizens and the Nigerian economy.

Airtel Africa is a leading provider of telecommunications and mobile money services with a presence in 14 countries across Africa.

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Banking

Advans La Fayette Microfinance Bank Introduces Education Loans

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Advans La Fayette

By Modupe Gbadeyanka

A leading microfinance bank supporting small businesses, Advans La Fayette Microfinance Bank Limited, has introduced education loans aimed to provide funding support to school owners and parents.

A statement from the small lending institution said the education loan products created for its customers are the Advans School Boost, Advans Eduloan and Advans Kiddies.

It was explained that the Advans School Boost is a product designed to provide working and investment capital for school owners, Advans Eduloan is to assist parents to pay their children’s school fees with ease, while the Advans Kiddies is high-yield savings account to help parents save towards the future of their children while still earning interest.

According to the Marketing and Communication Manager of Advans La Fayette MFB, Mr Kayode Abraham, “The process of accessing the education loans is neither rigorous nor daunting.”

“Simply visit our website: www.advansnigeria.com to complete the application form and receive the funds immediately, if eligible,” he advised.

The Project Manager of Advans La Fayette MFB, Ms Fanny Belhomme, stated that, “Advans School Boost allows school owners to access loans up to N75 million to cover school expenses. The loan has a very competitive interest rate, a flexible repayment plan and no hidden costs.

“Parents can access up to N500,000 with the Advans Eduloan, to pay their children’s school fees. The loan is easy to access, with a low-interest rate and flexible repayment plans,” she added.

The Managing Director of the lender, Mr Gaëtan Debuchy, while speaking at the unveiling of the products at the Shoregate Hotels, Ikeja, Lagos, disclosed that the firm came up with the loan packages because “we recognised that lack of finance is one of the biggest banes of education.”

“Emboldened by the fact that investment in quality education yields the best dividend, we created these products to offer solutions to the challenge. As a leading microfinance bank, we are focused on providing premium financial services to our customers,” he added.

Advans Nigeria is a member of Advans Group; a leading international microfinance group currently serving over 1.1 million clients in 10 countries including Cambodia, Cameroon, Ghana, Democratic Republic of Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, Pakistan, Nigeria, Tunisia and Myanmar.

For more than 15 years, the bank has offered a complete range of financial services that has helped build over 4 million small businesses.

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Banking

AppZone Gets CBN Switching Licence Approval in Principle 

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Appzone

By Adedapo Adesanya

AppZone, Sub-Saharan Africa’s payment infrastructure company, announced that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has issued the organization an approval in principle to operate under the Switching and Processing license category.

This will enable AppZone further expand its transaction switching and processing services currently offered to banks and fintech’s through its blockchain-based payment network, ZONE, launched in December 2021.

ZONE is the first private blockchain payment network that enables the direct flow of payments from bank to bank while empowering previously excluded financial institutions to participate.

It has been adopted by over 16 commercial banks and payment service banks in Nigeria and will further expand to other financial institutions, Fintechs and commercial banks across Africa.

Speaking about the license issuance, co-founder and CEO of AppZone, Mr Obi Emetarom, said, “We are excited about the issuance of the Switching license. We look forward to the progress it will enable for the payment and finance ecosystem.

“As a payment infrastructure company, we believe that this milestone will enable us to connect every financial store of value within Nigeria and link them to the rest of the world.”

With this new milestone, AppZone can now operate on the same level as other tier-one financial technology and private switching companies.

The switching license will enable the company directly to engage and collaborate with crucial payment system stakeholders such as the Nigeria Central Switch hosted by NIBSS and the various Card Payment Schemes.

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