By Modupe Gbadeyanka
In commemoration of International Women’s Day 2022, the foremost financial institution, Fidelity Bank Plc, has announced plans to celebrate leading women and female achievers at a networking event in partnership with media entrepreneur, Linda Ikeji, on Tuesday, March 8, 2022.
Themed Breaking the Bias, this year’s International Women’s Day celebration is aimed at promoting gender equity across various sectors and spheres by celebrating women who have emerged pioneers in their respective fields.
Speaking on the upcoming event, Fidelity Bank’s Chief Executive Officer, Mrs Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe, said, “At Fidelity Bank, we believe women play a critical role in the economic, social and cultural development of any community.
“Platforms such as this, give us the opportunity to drive the conversations around promoting a world free of gender bias and discrimination, a world where women are given the freedom to thrive, grow and fulfil their highest potentials as well as contribute positively to global development.”
The 2022 International Women’s Day event will feature a keynote address by renowned economic policy expert, Dr Obiageli Ezekwesili as well as music, art, dance and comedy performances by top Nigerian entertainers.
“The International Women’s Day event is another demonstration of what we stand for at Linda Ikeji Media. For more than a decade, we have been at the forefront of empowering women and telling their stories as they challenge the norm and open new vistas in women’s achievements.
“We are delighted to partner with a reputable brand like Fidelity Bank in executing this project and we look forward to a memorable experience with our invited guests on the 8th of March 2022,” commented Chief Executive Officer, Linda Ikeji Media, Linda Ikeji.
The invite-only event will also double as the official launch of a community-driven proposition designed to support women across different cadres in meeting their aspirational goals.
According to insiders in the bank, the proposition boasts of exciting features such as capacity development initiatives, access to finance, recognition and networking events, health and wellness programmes, etc, all designed to speak to the yearnings of women.
Fidelity Bank is a full-fledged commercial bank operating in Nigeria with about six million customers who are serviced across its 250 business offices and digital banking channels.
In 2021, the bank was recognised as the “Fastest Growing Bank” and “MSME & Entrepreneurship Financing Bank of the Year” at the 2021 BusinessDay Banks and Other Financial Institutions (BAFI) Awards. The Bank has also been at the forefront of digital innovation in the industry with the introduction of its Virtual Account service that provides instant payment settlement for merchants.
CBN Advocates Collaboration to Grow Payments Ecosystem
By Adedapo Adesanya
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is moving to strengthen the digital payments ecosystem and position Nigeria firmly on the global payments landscape with more collaboration.
This is in line with its commitment to deepen and stimulate the growth of digital payment in Nigeria and beyond.
This was the crux of a two-day event tagged Collaborating for Industry Growth and Profitability held by integrated digital payments and e-commerce company, Interswitch Group, where industry players gathered to discuss how to strengthen the ecosystem.
The industry leaders, drawn from banks, fintechs, micro-finance banks, telcos and other financial institutions, reached the resolve that designing innovative financial products which speak to the needs of customers will spur growth and economic prosperity.
The experts also noted that players in the financial space need to synergize to explore avenues for mutual growth, which will in turn create a robust payment ecosystem.
Speaking at the event, Mr Jimoh Musa, Director, Payment System Management Department, CBN, said the lender’s responsibility as a regulator is to create an enabling environment where all the entrants can thrive and compete healthily.
“We understudy all the interoperable operations of each technology company, and all the participants generally. And from time to time, we bring all these entities together to dialogue to enable us to decide what the best industry practice is in relation to Nigeria’s payment ecosystem.”
During the two-day event, Interswitch officially unveiled eight new products designed to address prevailing issues within the payments ecosystem, enhance business development and boost customer experience.
The products include Fintech-in-a-box; Fraud Solution-as-a-Service (FSAAS); Banking-as-a-Service; Payment-as-a-Service; Interswitch Security-as-a-Service; Mobile Banking-as -a-Service, and Biometrics on POS and Value financing.
These products are tailored to provide seamless payment solutions to banks, fintechs, micro-finance banks, other financial institutions and their customers. Essentially, these products will help to improve the digital payment solutions that financial institutions offer to their customers.
Critical points the products will be solving include protecting customers against digital payment fraud, effective value financing tools for lenders, seamless integration to payment channels, enhanced customer experience etc.
Speaking during the panel session, Mr Akeem Lawal, Managing Director, Interswitch Purepay, said players in the payment industry must collaborate to provide opportunities to co-create solutions that make digital payment safer and further drive profitability.
He said “Interswitch is committed to partnering with stakeholders to drive financial inclusion through its innovative products and solutions continuously. These products reaffirm the company’s continued drive to improving Nigeria’s digital payments landscape through innovation and the development of first-rate solutions and infrastructure that address pressing needs in the payments ecosystem”.
Mr Lawal further said Interswitch would continue to enter partnerships that will not only simplify payments but also drive prosperity across the continent.
The panellists noted that partnerships would allow players to increase revenue and grow faster, avail them opportunities to leverage one another’s infrastructure, drive financial inclusion and build a robust ecosystem, urging players to collaborate more to provide quality service for the end users to enhance growth and more opportunities.
First Bank Stops Use of Naira Cards for International Transactions
By Dipo Olowookere
From Friday, September 30, 2022, customers of First Bank will no longer be able to use their Naira cards for international transactions, Business Post reports.
This development is triggered by the scarcity of foreign exchange (forex) in Nigeria, the financial institution confirmed in a message to its customers on Wednesday.
The lender disclosed that for customers to complete their offshore transactions, they would have to obtain multicurrency cards, which allow them to spend up to $10,000.
Nigerian banks have struggled to meet the FX demands of their customers because of a shortage in supply despite the prices of crude oil rising in the global market.
The government had blamed attacks on oil facilities in the Niger Delta region of the country as well as oil theft as the reason for low crude oil output.
It was reported that last month, the oil production of Nigeria went down below one million barrels, making it difficult for the nation to earn more from crude oil sales.
“Due to current market realities on foreign exchange, you will no longer be able to use the Naira Mastercard, Naira Credit Card, our Virtual card and Visa Prepaid Naira card for international transactions. This will take effect on September 30, 2022.
“Please use your Visa Debit Multicurrency Card, Visa Prepaid (USD) Card and Visa Gold Credit Card to continue transacting abroad with limits of up to $10,000,” the message sent by First Bank to its customers today stated.
Despite the apparent FX supply crisis in the country, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has maintained that those who genuinely need forex should go through the official market, which is primarily the commercial banks.
The apex bank had maintained that sourcing FX through the black market was illegal. It also described the platform as insignificant in the FX market, saying it only accounts for 5 per cent of the landscape.
PecanTrust Disburses N5bn Loans to Customers in Six Years
By Aduragbemi Omiyale
The fast-growing financial institution, PecanTrust Microfinance Bank, has disbursed loans worth N5 billion to customers in six years.
The lender started operations six years ago after it received a licence from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to operate as a financial institution saddled with the responsibility of giving loans to Nigerians.
Since it received this authority to operate as a microfinance bank, PecanTrust has focused on alleviating poverty by providing access to finance for affordable social infrastructure services, including healthcare, education and housing as well as prioritising women-led businesses.
In this period, the lender has remained consistent in its focus on increasing financial inclusion in Nigeria and reaching unbanked customers nationwide.
In line with this mission, the bank has designed tailored savings and loan products for these customers, such as the Pecan Ajo savings and other Pecan SME finance loans. The bank has also implemented an aggressive strategy to introduce its customers to its agency banking platform nationwide.
In addition to its financial inclusion strategy, the bank recently unveiled its USSD application with value-added features and service delivery levels to the market.
“We are delighted to have had a positive impact through our financial inclusion strategies. Currently, about 60 million adults are unbanked in Nigeria, which makes it the 5th largest country of unbanked citizens globally.
“So much still needs to be done in the industry to support the CBN towards the achievement of its financial inclusion goals.
“This is why we have continued to intensify efforts to reach the unbanked and ultimately help alleviates them from poverty. We believe with continuous steps in this direction, we can achieve our objectives,” A director of PecanTrust, Mr Taiwo Oshinusi, stated.
To accelerate growth and continue to support these strategic initiatives, and improve delivery to customers, PecanTrust has evolved into a hybrid microfinance business, building on expertise and its experience with the traditional banking business model, the bank is poised to launch its digital application in a few months to scale its business and reach a wider customer base while providing access to cheaper, faster, reliable financial services.
PecanTrust Microfinance Bank offers diversified savings and loan products and continues developing new products to meet the demand of the market.
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