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Financial Inclusion: Heritage Bank Targets 1,000 Agent Banking Partners

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Financial Inclusion: Heritage Bank Targets 1,000 Agent Banking Partners

By Modupe Gbadeyanka

In 2008, a research conducted by an international agency, Enhancing Financial Innovation & Access (EFINA) showed that about 74 percent of Nigeria’s rural community was unbanked.

Against this backdrop, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) initiated a policy aimed to reduce the figure by 20 percent by 2020 to ensure greater participation in the nation’s financial sector, thereby offering financial services to the nooks and crannies of Nigerian communities; providing access to underserved markets.

One of the lenders in the country, Heritage Bank Plc, as part of efforts at meeting this target, took an aggressive approach with the introduction of agent banking partners.

Over the weekend, during the signing up of two agents’ corner shops, the bank disclosed that it would bring on board 1,000 agent partners by the ending of 2017.

The two corner shops opened over the weekend at High Rise Business Centre in Simawa community behind Redeemed Convention Camp and Layeni Folayemi Enterprises in Omu Ijebu, both in Ogun State.

As at June 2017, the agent base had grown at an average rate of 50 new agent sign ups monthly bringing the total number of active agents to about 450 and growing.

This lends credibility to the consistency of the service and how it is changing lives and empowering Nigerians across the country.

At this steady growth rate of approximately 17.5 percent new agent per month on can say that hitting the long term vision of 100,000 active agents in five years is well within reach.

However, to this effect, the MD/CEO of Heritage Bank, Mr Ifie Sekibo, explained that the bank has continued to set standard in the launching of ‘Corner Shop’ to cater for the need of traders and artisans at different locations across the country.

Speaking at the commissioning of the agent, Zonal Business Coordinator, South-West, South-South, Agent Banking, Heritage Bank, Oluwakemi Adewunmi, noted that there was indeed a gap in the community without any financial institution to service the need of the people.

Adewunmi assured that with the new development, accessing banking services in Omu Ijebu and Simawa areas have become easier for all the people in the community.

Her words: “It does not matter whether you have your bank account with Heritage Bank or otherwise, the mobile POS deployed by the agent will make banking at the people’s doorstep so easy and stress-free.

The latest however came with a peculiarity as a community leader and politician, Olatunde Rotimi Paseda, an indigene of Omu Ijebu released a property to the bank for the purpose of financial inclusion.

Paseda, a Governorship aspirant under the Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN) in 2015 general elections, released the building to the bank in order to cushion the stress the indigenes of the locality faced anytime they wanted to transact banking business.

Before now, the people living in the neighbourhood and its environs used to travel to Ijebu Ode where banks have their branches located before they could carry out even the basic banking obligation.

Mrs Layeni Folayemi, promoter of Layeni Folayemi Enterprises, Corner Shop who made the disclosure at the launch of the agent outlet on Thursday, acknowledged that the presence of Heritage Bank in Omu Ijebu would greatly help to alleviate the pains the people hitherto experienced in accessing bank for financial transactions.

Managing Director of High Rise Business Centre, Corner Shop, Ogundayini Godwin said he set up the facility in a bid to save cost and energy for the residents of the community, adding that before the advent of the agency arrangement; people in the community used to spend about N600 to be able to withdraw any amount of money from the ATM in Redeemed Convention Camp.

He said there is high liquidity in the community with some people coming to make deposits while others come to make withdrawals.

Some of the customers were very enthusiastic with the programme and commended the bank for the bold and laudable policy.

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.

Banking

KPMG Rates Stanbic IBTC Bank High in Retail, Corporate Banking

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Stanbic IBTC opens new branch

By Aduragbemi Omiyale

The KPMG 2022 Nigeria Banking Industry Customer Experience (CX) Survey has rated Stanbic IBTC Bank Plc high in retail and corporate banking in the country.

According to the report, Stanbic IBTC Bank occupied the first position with a 73.8 CX score out of 100 in the retail segment and sustained the leading position for the second consecutive year. Time and effort are the drivers of performance in the retail category, and the bank outperformed its peers in this regard.

Stanbic IBTC Bank, which held the top position in the retail and SME segments last year, performed well across key customer journey areas, particularly in resolution – a key area of improvement for the industry where customers rate banks on timeliness and quality of feedback on issues as well as the ability and ease of reporting issues and concerns.

Other customer journey areas where Stanbic IBTC Bank came tops included discovery – the ease of getting information about the bank coupled with professional and friendly staff, the ease of account opening with digital-only options and the speedy onboarding process.

Stanbic IBTC Bank is among the top three in transacting – accessibility, timeliness, and quality of service from physical and digital channels, and in account maintenance which covers requests for account statements, general enquiries and updates to account information with accuracy and completeness.

Moving up five places compared to last year’s report, Stanbic IBTC Bank also emerged as this year’s leader in the corporate segment with an 80.9 score out of 100 and received great feedback on the depth of their relationship managers’ knowledge in key sectors.

The report also revealed that Stanbic IBTC successfully closed the gap in digital banking, emerging as a clear leader in the industry.

Speaking on these achievements, the chief executive of Stanbic IBTC Bank, Mr Wole Adeniyi, said, “The primary goal of the bank is to forge lasting relationships with its clients by offering timely, creative, and valuable solutions that benefit them. We are fully committed to serving Nigerians with top-notch financial services.”

According to Mr Adeniyi, “2022 has been remarkable for us at Stanbic IBTC. Asides from these good standings revealed by the KPMG report, the globally renowned credit rating agency, Fitch Ratings, also reaffirmed the retention of our National Long-Term ‘AAA (nga)’ and National Short-Term ‘F1+(nga)’ ratings for the Stanbic IBTC Group and Stanbic IBTC Bank respectively.”

“The National Long-Term ‘AAA (nga)’ and National Short-Term ‘F1+(nga)’ Ratings are the highest possible ratings on Fitch’s rating scale, and we were rated high based on the potential support from our parent company, Standard Bank Group, based in South Africa. We play a vital role in Standard Bank Group’s main operations in West Africa, and we retained our ratings based on our size and high operational integration,” he added.

Fitch Ratings assessed Stanbic IBTC’s strategic importance as the holding company for Standard Bank Group’s leading corporate and investment banking (CIB) and wealth businesses in Nigeria and Stanbic IBTC Bank’s position as an integral part of its Nigerian operations. It also considered Standard Bank Group’s controlling ownership of Stanbic IBTC, high integration of risk management, operations and strategy, shared branding, and Stanbic IBTC’s moderate contribution to Standard Bank Group’s net income.

The ‘AAA (nga)’ is given to issuers with the lowest expectation of default risk when compared with their competitors. The National Short-Term Rating of ‘F1+(nga)’ is assigned to issuers that have a strong capacity for timely payment of financial commitments in comparison to other issuers in Nigeria.

Mr Adeniyi noted that the organisation’s competitive position, good risk profile, healthy funding, and liquidity position also facilitated its upgrade in the Global Credit Ratings (GCR). The national scale long-term issuer rating assigned to Stanbic IBTC Bank PLC was upgraded to AAA(NG) from AA+(NG) and the national scale short-term issuer rating was A1+(NG), indicating a stable outlook and making Stanbic IBTC Bank the only financial institution in Nigeria with the rating.

He attributed the astounding performances of the organisation to the dedication and hard work of its workforce and the tenacity of the firm to continue to play vital roles in Nigeria’s economic development, stating that Stanbic IBTC would not relent in developing sustainable solutions that ensure customers’ delight and the company’s success in the Nigerian financial services spectrum.

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Banking

Customers to Win N50m at Draws of Union Bank Promos

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Union Bank

By Modupe Gbadeyanka

Over N50 million is up for grabs at two draws of Union Bank of Nigeria Plc promos aimed at rewarding its loyal customers on Friday, January 27, 2023.

A statement from the lender disclosed that the event, to be live-streamed to allow participants to join virtually, will take place at the bank’s head office in Marina, Lagos.

Union Bank is currently running two promos, the Save & Win Palli campaign in its second edition and the UnionKorrect campaign, a savings promo.

Save & Win Palli Promo and UnionKorrect promo are nationwide campaigns aimed at rewarding customers with cash prizes and other exciting gifts. The goal is to encourage and promote a healthy savings culture, and the promo is open to new and existing customers.

More than 300 lucky customers will be rewarded at the dual draws on Friday with cash prizes and other exciting consolation prizes.

In addition, one lucky customer will go home with the grand prize of N5 million from the Save and Win promo draw, while other customers will receive other cash prizes of N105,000 and N500,000 for the last set of the monthly and quarterly draw winners.

In addition, Union Bank will reward 227 customers with N18.5 million in the UnionKorrect campaign.

Winners will be randomly selected through electronically generated and transparent draws monitored by relevant regulatory bodies.

Prospective customers can download the UnionMobile app on their mobile phones to open an account or walk into any Union Bank branch.

To reactivate existing accounts, returning customers can call the 24-hour Contact Centre on 07007007000 or visit any of Union Bank’s branches across the country.

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Banking

Mixed Feelings as CBN Cash Swap Programme Kicks Off

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New Naira Notes Business Post cash swap programme

By Modupe Gbadeyanka

The cash swap programme of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in rural and underserved areas of the country kicked off on Monday, January 23, 2023, amid mixed feelings.

On October 26, 2022, the Governor of the CBN, Mr Godwin Emefiele, announced that the bank would redesign the N200, N500, and N1,000 notes.

At a special press briefing in Abuja, he further disclosed that the new banknotes would be introduced into the system on December 15, 2022, while by January 31, 2023, all the old notes would have been mopped up from the circulation.

As announced, the new notes hit circulation last month, but instead of banks to stop giving customers the old notes, they are still issued with the currency despite having about a week to the deadline.

This raised doubts about the feasibility of the deadline, especially when Nigerians in the rural areas were yet to see the redesigned Naira denominations.

In order to reach these people, the central bank launched the cash swap policy, which allows Nigerians to exchange their old notes for new ones.

According to a circular jointly signed over the weekend by the Director of Banking Supervision at the CBN, Mr Haruna Mustafa, and the Director of Payments System Management, Mr Musa Jomoh, the initiative was to reach rural communities in Nigeria.

Under this programme, an agency will “exchange a maximum of N10,000 per person, as the amount above this would be treated as a cash-in deposit into wallets or bank accounts in line with the cashless policy, BVN, NIN or voter’s card details of the customers should be captured as much as possible.”

The CBN said to promote financial inclusion, “this service is also available to anybody without a bank account. Agents may, on request, instantly open a wallet or account, leveraging the CBN Tiered KYC Framework. This will ensure that this category of the populace is able to exchange or deposit their cash seamlessly without taking unnecessary risk or incurring undue cost.”

For accountability, the agent would be required to “render weekly returns to their designated banks regarding the cash swap transactions. DMBs shall, in turn, render same to the CBN on a weekly basis.”

Reports gathered by Business Post indicate that this policy was a mixed bag on its first day.

In the Igbo Egun area of Abeokuta, Ogun State, this newspaper was informed that residents of this community are still in the dark about the redesigned Naira notes, while a few of the Ilogbo community in Ado-Odo/Otta in Ogun State, and those in the Ishefun, Olayemi, Igesu, Olorunisola areas of Ayobo, Lagos, have seen the new notes and are optimistic of having their cash swapped for the new notes before the deadline.

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