By Modupe Gbadeyanka
Heritage Bank Plc has keyed into the initiative of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) aimed to drive financial inclusion and promote economic growth by reducing the figure of the unbanked populace from its current 36.8 percent to 20 percent by the end 2020.
The lender, in order to meet this target, has strategically deployed its technology and large number of staff to reach the large populace who do not have bank accounts in selected states were sensitised and mobilised to designated centres in rural areas, where they opened their personal accounts.
Recall that the CBN mandated all banks in line with the 2020 financial inclusion target, to have a nationwide Account Opening Week.
The Account Opening Week is an initiative of the CBN, Bankers’ Committee and other Stakeholders to provide opportunities for financially excluded Nigerians and Micro Small and Medium Enterprises to open accounts with formal financial institutions.
Recently, Heritage Bank held its Account Opening Week and the MD/CEO of the bank, Mr Ifie Sekibo, stated that Heritage Bank has been at the fore front and continued to give its unreserved backing towards reducing the exclusion rate to 20 percent by 2020, create jobs, reduce poverty and improve the welfare of the people.
According to him, the bank succeeded in opening more than 2,000 bank accounts in designated centres of the following six states; Kano, Ebonyi, Nasarawa, Gombe, Bayelsa and Ondo.
Meanwhile, Mr Sekibo made recourse to Heritage Bank’s supports so far, thereby noting that the bank have been taking aggressive approach with the introduction of agent banking partners.
He pinpointed that the bank has brought on board over 10,000 agent partners since the commencement and launching of ‘corner shop’, which 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, one can say that hitting the long term vision of 100,000 active agents in five years is well within reach.
However, Mr Sekibo explained that financially excluded persons constitute a gap in the financial system and there is no way to create a perfect economy except all these people are brought on board.
“Another issue is that the older generation seem to be averse to technology because they have not been exposed to it and the fear of fraud,” he also said, but assured that the CBN and the banks will continue to improve its technology space.
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