By Dipo Olowookere
Nigeria’s first instant online account opening service has been introduced by Stanbic IBTC Holdings Plc in line with its goal of helping to digitize banking in Nigeria for convenience and seamless service delivery.
The one-stop financial service provider said this innovation, apart from expanding its retail banking business, will ensure easy access to millions of prospective banking customers, while driving financial inclusion in the country.
The new service involves an instant and easy account opening process and once a simple form is completed and submitted online, the account holder can instantly access their account and begin to enjoy the full benefits of the accounts in real time.
Executive Director, Personal and Business Banking, Stanbic IBTC Bank, Mr Babatunde Macaulay, said this innovation as well as other digital and non-digital solutions rolled out recently underlines the importance of providing seamless customer experience to both existing and prospective customers.
“Our appreciation of the need to create access and to continually explore innovative ways of providing world class financial services, when and where our customers want it, is our guiding principle. What we have done is provide our esteemed customers another novel service that meets the demand for prompt and easy access to financial services. Our customers can be reassured that Stanbic IBTC Bank will continue to evolve in anticipation of their changing needs with the aim of helping them move forward,” Mr Macaulay said.
On how to access the service, Mr Macaulay said interested account applicants can visit Stanbic IBTC Bank’s official website (www.stanbicibtcbank.com), complete the simple application process online, and the customer is immediately contacted with feedback and notification of successful on- boarding.
Other benefits of the new service, Mr Macaulay stated, include issuance of debit card, mobile and internet banking, interest earning on savings account, flexibility and opportunity to upgrade account, issuance of cheque book and the opportunity to access credit on the customer’s income while investment account holders also enjoy added benefit of watching their money grow.
“Stanbic IBTC Bank will continue to leverage the expertise of the Stanbic IBTC Group to provide services and products that address the specific needs of our customers,” Mr Macaulay said.
Stanbic IBTC Bank only recently relaunched its integrated mobile application platform, an innovative app that supports a wide array of financial transactions, which was followed by its first self-service digital branch in Lagos, which enables consumers enjoy the convenience and innovation of digital banking.
Stanbic IBTC Bank is a member of Stanbic IBTC Holdings PLC, a full service financial services group with a clear focus on three main business pillars – Corporate and Investment Banking, Personal and Business Banking and Wealth Management. Stanbic IBTC belongs to the Standard Bank Group, the largest African financial institution by assets and earnings.
It is rooted in Africa with strategic representation in 20 countries on the African continent. Standard Bank has been in operation for 154 years and is focused on building first-class, on-the-ground financial services institutions in chosen countries in Africa; and connecting selected emerging markets to Africa by applying sector expertise, particularly in natural resources, power and infrastructure.
ICPC Arrests Bank Manager for Failure to Properly Load Cash into 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.”
Union Bank Secures IFC’s $30m Loan to Finance Trade, SMEs
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.
New Notes: CBN Directs Banks to Payout Maximum N20,000 Daily Via Tellers
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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