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GTBank Drives Mobile Banking With *737* Code

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GTBank 737

By Dipo Olowookere

There have been many testimonies from holders of accounts in Guaranty Trust Bank Plc (GTBank) that the *737* mobile banking code has taken financial transactions to another level.

The initiative by GTBank has been applauded by many because they say it has exceeded customers’ expectation.

The *737* is a mobile channel, which enables the bank’s customers to conveniently perform third party transfers to both GTBank and other bank account holders in Nigeria via mobile phones.

This is done by dialling the right code with details of the amount and account number of the beneficiary, writes

Mobile payment is where the world is heading. Financial institutions with foresight on the future are redefining their commitment to electronic payment, churning out products and services to serve customers better.

GTBank, it is the right way to serve the customers better. The lender unveiled the Bank *737* platform to help deepen its mobile banking, to strengthen its leadership potentials in the mobile banking space.

Also for GTBank, Bank *737* is just a creativity that emerged out of the box. It is an expression of outstanding intuition, which only very few brilliant innovators can attempt. It is also one of the benefits of the cash-less banking, which was one of the biggest news that hit the sector in January 2012.

The objective, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) said, was to change the cash-driven economy and reduce the rising cost of banking operations. The policy is also designed to promote financial intermediation, financial inclusion, minimise revenue leakages, eliminate robbery and encourage e-payment.

The coming of cashless financial system has indeed, given great opportunities to institutions that possess the innovative instincts to break the bricks. Ordinarily, one would not imagine that financial transactions could be done without one inching close to any banking hall.

GTBank’s Group Managing Director/CEO, Mr Segun Agbaje, has consistently told the bank’s customers that Bank *737* is an innovation whose time has come. He was not joking when he told his customers that people might not have any need to go into the banking halls for anything, anymore because they can stay in the comfort of their homes and carry out banking transactions.

To the bank chief, when the electricity challenges are finally settled, more would come in the way of innovation and that is the time a full classification of the efficiency of the core financial institutions would be known.

The current bubble that greeted the fortunes of the bank could not be unrelated to the level of innovation that has trailed the bank’s creativity over the years, like ‘licensing’ a new bank, which runs on phones.

That was why Mr Agbaje could stand up anywhere and tell a motley crowd of GTBank stakeholders that their bank would make a whopping N125 billion profit after tax, some N30 billion higher than its current record, in its 2016 financial activities without fuss.

The bank, which prides itself as not really affected by the backlash of the Treasury Single Account policy (TSA), is greatly optimistic that it has not been a public sector bank and would continue to innovate to find a flourishing middle ground for its more than seven million customers in the country.

He described the 2015 financial year as really a very bad year, “a very difficult year, Credit Rediscount Rate(CRR) went up to 34 per cent, Commission on Turnover (COT) was totally down and forex got so bad. “We are creating a bank where you do not come into the bank to do anything. We are leveraging technology to take people out of the banking hall.

“You are going to do most of your banking activities today without coming to the banking hall. We cannot achieve inclusive banking by building more branches, but by providing more enabling platforms to get people do more, and that is where banking is going,” Mr Agbaje said.

While pouring encomium on his staff, the CEO explained that his bank is not excited about any form of merger and acquisition as his bank has planned to grow organically.

He saw a lot that could be done to attain the desired height even as he would want the bank to do any good business that could add good value to the economy.

He also saw agriculture as a sector that needed a lot of push, but was quick to indicate that agriculture loan books did not grow fast even as the medieval industry remained key to the growth of the economy. There is no doubt that Mr Agbaje is an apostle of gradual and careful growth.

With his bank’s current financial report, Mr Agbaje looks good to keep the best result among all the banks for the 2015 year, considering the fact that banks whose business prospects look as good as that of GTBank may have reported far less performance for the period. This explains the progressive plan of the bank to remain on top as the most profitable bank within the period in review.

With a gross income rolling over N300 billion, there are clear indications that the careful spending pattern the bank has adopted will further offer it some more profit advantage. This may even grow in double digits as its new IT platform will usher a new cost-cutting mechanism, as less emphasis on new branches can really add up as new gains.

Mr Agbaje feels that the internet and telephone banking platforms are becoming very successful. A good size of the youth, according to him, is in it and they are enjoying the blitz.

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

FG Orders PSOs, Telcos to Stop Support for Illegal Money Lenders

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illegal money lenders

By Adedapo Adesanya

The federal government through the Federal Competition and Consumers Protection Commission (FCCPC) has directed payment systems operators (PSOs) and telecommunication companies, including Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) in Nigeria to stop providing support that enables the operations of illegal money lenders in Nigeria.

This was disclosed by the Executive Vice Chairman/Chief Executive Officer, FCCPC, Mr Babatunde Irukera, in Lagos, when the commission conducted enforcement actions against a loan shark known as Soko Lending Limited.

He added that FCCPC has secured orders to disable or diminish violators’ ability to circumvent regulatory efforts to protect citizens.

He also announced that a Limited Interim Regulatory/Registration Framework and Guidelines for Digital Lending has been developed and adopted by the inter-agency Joint Regulatory and Enforcement Task Force as an interim step to establishing a clear regulatory framework for the sector.

“Soko Lending appears to be the most consequential digital money lender with multiple apps and brand names covering a significant share of the digital/online lending market, and one of the most prolific actors in violating consumer privacy, fair lending terms, and ethical loan repayment/recovery practices,” Mr Irukera said.

He recalled that the agency had previously carried out a similar enforcement action which reduced exploitative practices in the industry, noting, however, that some of the lenders have devised methods to circumvent account freezing and app suspension orders.

Mr Irukera further stated that “The commission has also entered further orders that will disable or diminish violators’ ability to devise circumvention efforts or alternative mechanisms to circumvent the objective of the investigation and protection of citizens.

“Particularly, the commission has ordered all operating payment systems including Flutterwave, Opay, Paystack, and Monify to immediately cease and desist providing payment or transaction services to lenders under investigation or not otherwise operating with applicable regulatory approvals.

“FCCPC has also ordered telecommunication/ technology companies (including Mobile Network Operators (MNOs)) to cease and desist providing server/hosting, or other key services such as connectivity to disclosed or known lenders who are targets/subjects of investigation or otherwise operating without regulatory approval.

“The inter-agency Joint Regulatory and Enforcement Task Force has developed and mutually adopted a Limited Interim Regulatory/Registration Framework and Guidelines for Digital Lending, 2022 as the first and interim step to establishing a clear regulatory framework,” he said.

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Banking

Union Bank Encourages Customers to Save to Win in Promo

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Union Bank promo

By Modupe Gbadeyanka

The Head of Retail Deposits at Union Bank, Mr John Obichie, has urged customers of the bank to make deposits in order to win cash and other prizes in the ongoing season 2 of the Save & Win Palli promo.

Speaking at the first live draw of this season, which took place at Union Bank’s Head office in Lagos, the banker said the campaign was designed to encourage customers to save for rainy days and reward them for their loyalty.

“Union Bank is pleased to reward our customers through initiatives like this that encourage them to save. This promo was introduced to support our customers during these trying times and to reward them for being consistent with their saving habits,” he said.

At the event, which produced the first set of winners in the second edition of the promo, no fewer than 50 customers won cash prizes of N105,000 each. The winners were selected randomly through a transparent, and electronically generated draw supervised by relevant regulatory bodies.

Save & Win Palli Promo is a nationwide campaign aimed at rewarding customers with cash prices and other exciting gifts worth over N55 million. The goal is to encourage and promote a healthy savings culture. The promo is open to new and existing customers who save a minimum amount of N10,000 monthly.

Savers who qualify to participate in the monthly draws stand a chance to win N105,000 each, while 5 winners will go home with N500,000 each in two of the quarterly draws. One lucky customer will snag the star price of N5 million during the grand finale set to hold in December alongside other consolation prices.

The savings promo, which kicked off in July, will run until the end of the year and will see more winners emerge during the monthly, quarterly and end-of-year draws so there’s still a chance to participate and win!

An existing Union Bank customer can continue to top up their savings in multiples of N10,000 monthly to increase their chances of winning, while prospective customers can download the UnionMobile app on their mobile phones to open an account or they can simply walk into any Union Bank branch.

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

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Banking

Polaris Bank in Safe Hands, No Need to Panic—Management

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Polaris Bank Rewards Customers

By Aduragbemi Omiyale

The management of Polaris Bank Limited has urged its customers and members of the public not to panic over reports that the financial institution has been sold to a new investor, Mr Auwal Gombe, in the sum of N40 billion.

It was recently reported that efforts are being made to hand over the lender to the businessman, who is said to be an ally of former military president, Mr Ibrahim Babangida, after the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) nationalised the defunct Skye Bank Plc into Polaris Bank in 2018.

In a statement issued on Friday in Lagos, the bank described the report of the purported sale as not only “speculative” but done to deliberately “create panic” among its customers and the banking community.

The company said the CBN established it and injected funds for its operations, it has bounced back to profitability, with a solid balance sheet, saying there is no cause for alarm as the bank was in safe hands.

“Stakeholders may recall the regulatory intervention in the erstwhile Skye Bank by the CBN and the subsequent injection of capital via the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) through a bridge bank process, which birthed Polaris Bank in 2018.

“The bank has since stabilised its operations following the intervention; improving its balance sheet, customer base and profitability,” a part of the notice today said.

Continuing, Polaris Bank noted that, “Whilst the intention has always been to return the bank to private ownership, such a sale would occur following regulatory approvals with formal notification to all relevant stakeholders,” expressing its commitment to “ensuring timely communication to the public in such an event.”

 “The board and management hereby reassure its customers, staff and the general public that Polaris Bank remains a stable, strong and credible financial institution, positioned to deliver sustainable value to all its stakeholders,” the statement concluded.

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