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Finclusion Group Rebrands to Enhance Offerings, Market Footprint

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Finclusion Group

By Adedapo Adesanya 

Finclusion Group has announced a brand integration across its markets to Fin, which will facilitate Fin’s planned expansion into new markets in 2022 and 2023.

As it gets a rebrand, subsidiaries in its core markets will also follow suit, including Fin Kenya (formerly: TrustGro); Fin Tanzania (formerly: Fikia Finance) and Fin South Africa (with its products now being SmartAdvance by Fin, NiftyCredit by Fin, NiftyCover by Fin, MediFin and e-Fin).

With this step, the company is consolidating its footprint across Africa under one identity and highlighting its ambition to be the leading international neobank across Eastern and Southern Africa.

The company is also announcing a further equity injection to fuel growth as it is adding $2 million in equity funding to its $20 million round raised earlier in the year. This funding is led by existing investors Mr Leonard Stiegeler, who is also joining the board of the company, as well as Mr Sudeep Ramnani and Mr Jai Mahtani.

The funding will be used to add new, fully-integrated territories to its business and develop new offerings, specifically in support of microfinance banks wanting to offer more financial services with the help of Fin.

In a statement, Fin said its mission is to enhance the quality of life of its customers through simple, convenient, and appropriate financial services. This is why the Fin team across Africa has chosen its new slogan, Simply Smarter Finance.

Speaking on this, Mr Tonderai Mutesva, Co-Founder and co-CEO of Fin, said, “This brand integration is an important step in cementing Fin as the leader in the neobanking space in East & Southern Africa. We have fantastic leadership and a strong team across our markets, and with our joint brand and platform, we will continue to expand.”

Like other neobanks, Fin is already active across the credit, insurance, BNPL and other financial services space and by presenting its services under one name, the company says it will ensure that its quality offering and customer support are instantly recognized.

Also, this brand integration will facilitate Fin’s planned expansion into new markets in 2022 and 2023 and highlight its quality services to microfinance banks in its markets. Fin will soon offer services to these microfinance banks to enhance their value proposition to customers by allowing for higher credit or better saving tools. The technology behind this offering will be known as Fin Connect and is supported by Fin’s earlier acquisition of the microfinance technology services provider, Awamo.

Fin will also continue to support adjacent businesses in the space through its venture portfolio. Fin Ventures is focused on funding entrepreneurs and startups in Africa within the credit and banking space. These ventures are independently run but can benefit from the company’s expertise. One such venture is mTek-Services, a leading digital insurer in Kenya.

Adding his input, Mr Timothy Nuy, co-founder and co-CEO of Fin, noted that “Fin has been created by a team with proven experience in the African fintech space. I am delighted that our platform can extend this expertise and useful financial tools to our partners.”

Adedapo Adesanya is a journalist, polymath, and connoisseur of everything art. When he is not writing, he has his nose buried in one of the many books or articles he has bookmarked or simply listening to good music with a bottle of beer or wine. He supports the greatest club in the world, Manchester United F.C.

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Banking

ICPC Arrests Bank Manager for Failure to Properly Load Cash into ATMs

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FCMB manager ATMs

By Aduragbemi Omiyale

The Operation Manager of a branch of a commercial bank in Osogbo, Osun State, has been arrested by operatives of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC).

A statement issued by ICPC on Friday disclosed that the bank manager was apprehended by its compliance team and taken in for questioning.

It was alleged that the banker loaded the bank’s Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) with cash with their wrappers un-removed, thus preventing the cash from being dispensed to customers, who have formed long queues amid a scarcity of the Naira in the country.

According to the statement, when it discovered this anomaly, the team directed that the wrappers are removed, and the cash be loaded properly.

“However, when a follow-up visit was undertaken the following day to ascertain the level of compliance, the team discovered that one of the ATMs was still loaded with the wrappers un-removed,” the statement said, prompting his arrest.

In a related development, an official of another commercial bank in Abuja has been apprehended by the commission. The bank official was accused of deliberately refusing to load cash into the branch’s ATMs even when the cash was available and people were queuing at the ATM terminals.

According to the ICPC, when its monitoring team arrived at the bank at about 1:30 pm to ensure compliance and demanded an explanation as to why all the ATMs were not dispensing cash, it was informed by the branch’s Head of Operations that the bank just got delivery of the cash.

But the agency claimed that available facts indicated that the branch took delivery of the cash around 11:58 am and either wilfully or maliciously refused to feed the ATMs with the cash.

Against this backdrop, the ICPC team compelled the bank to load the ATMs with the redesigned Naira notes and ensured that they were all dispensing before arresting the culprit.

“Investigations are still ongoing, and the commission will take appropriate actions as soon they are concluded,” a statement from the ICPC said.

The organisation explained that it embarked on the monitoring “in continuation of its clampdown at elements frustrating efforts in making the redesigned Naira notes available to members of the public.”

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Banking

Union Bank Secures IFC’s $30m Loan to Finance Trade, SMEs

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Union Bank $30m loan

By Aduragbemi Omiyale

A loan worth $30 million has been secured by Union Bank of Nigeria Plc from the International Finance Corporation (IFC) to support small businesses in the country.

It was gathered that the credit facility would boost access to finance for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Nigeria and support increased trade, as it would enable the bank to expand lending to hundreds of businesses operating in critical sectors in the country, including food, healthcare, manufacturing, and services.

The $30 million loan will allow Union Bank to increase trade financing and working capital lending to Nigerian businesses, including those whose cashflows have been strained by recent disruptions in global and local markets.

“As a bank, we are deeply committed to enabling success for SMEs. We understand the critical role of small businesses in leading Nigeria’s economy towards growth.

“This funding from IFC will enable us to extend financial relief to our customers during this difficult time. I am confident that the funds will help these businesses harness opportunities and preserve jobs,” the chief executive of Union Bank, Mr Mudassir Amray, said.

Also commenting on the development, IFC’s Senior Country Manager for Nigeria, Liberia and Sierra Leone, Mr Kalim Shah, said, “Strengthening supply chains and trade flows through working capital financing sets the stage for faster growth and economic diversification in Nigeria.

“IFC’s partnership with Union Bank is part of a wider strategy to ensure the flow of goods and services are sustained despite global trade disruptions.”

The credit facility to Union Bank is being made through IFC’s COVID-19 Emergency Response Working Capital Solutions Envelope, which was launched in 2020 to provide funding to existing IFC clients in emerging markets that will then extend new loans to companies affected by the economic impacts of COVID-19.

Recent disruptions to the global economy following COVID-19, including from rising inflation and limited access to finance, have left many businesses in Nigeria, particularly SMEs, struggling with supply chain shortages, increased cost of doing business and limited trade growth.

The partnership with Union Bank underscores IFC’s commitment to supporting smaller businesses in Nigeria, helping them preserve and create jobs and access critical inputs.

The loan is supported by the blended finance facility of the International Development Association’s Private Sector Window, which mitigates the financial risks associated with investments in sectors like SMEs and agribusiness.

IFC has an active investment portfolio of $2.3 billion in Nigeria – the second largest in Africa after South Africa – across sectors including agribusiness, healthcare, manufacturing, infrastructure, technology, and financial services.

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Banking

New Notes: CBN Directs Banks to Payout Maximum N20,000 Daily Via Tellers

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New Naira Notes

By Aduragbemi Omiyale

Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) have been directed by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to pay their customers the new Naira notes a maximum of N20,000 daily.

This was contained in a statement issued on Thursday, February 2, 2023, by the apex bank, signed by its spokesman, Mr Osita Nwanisobi.

According to the CBN, this development is to ease the sufferings Nigerians are going through to access the new banknotes from their banks and other channels.

Earlier, Business Post reported that commercial banks were not paying their customers because of a cash crunch. Most banks were unable to honour the cash withdrawals of their customers because they had no new notes to pay and were not allowed to pay with the old currency notes.

In the statement released today, the central bank said it “noticed the queues at Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) across the country and an upward trend in the cases of people stocking and aggregating the newly introduced banknotes they serially obtain from ATMs for reasons best known to them. Also worrisome are the reported cases of unregistered persons and non-bank officials swapping banknotes for members of the public, purportedly on behalf of the CBN.”

The bank said to ease the pressure, the Governor of the CBN, Mr Godwin Emefiele, “has directed deposit money banks (DMBs) to commence the payment of the redesigned Naira notes over-the-counter (OTC), subject to a maximum daily payout limit of N20,000.”

However, the CBN warned “Nigerians, particularly those at social functions such as birthdays, weddings and funerals, to desist from disrespecting the Naira or risk being arrested by law enforcement agencies,” stressing that, “The Naira is our legal tender and symbol of national pride. Therefore, let us respect it and handle it with care.”

The apex bank urged “members of the public to embrace and adopt other payment channels for their transactions.”

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