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Unity Bank Targets 5 Million Women MSMEs in South West With Yanga Account

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Unity Bank Yanga Account

By Modupe Gbadeyanka

No fewer than 5 million Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) being operated by women in the South West region of Nigeria would be engaged by Unity Bank Plc.

The Nigerian retail lender disclosed this at the launch of the Yanga Account in Ibadan, Oyo State.

The account package was specifically designed by the financial institution to promote women MSMEs and create a unique proposition.

At the official launch of the Yanga Account recently in Abuja, a movie star in Nigeria, Sola Sobowale, was unveiled as the brand ambassador.

Yanga Account is a complete suite of services designed to promote financial inclusion among women through stress-free savings and investment, access to the services of dedicated sales agents, agency banking services close to the location of their businesses, special business seminar and training on how to grow business, access to microloans, customized debit cards and other bundled e-banking products.

At the official unveiling of the Yanga Account for the South West region held in Ibadan on Tuesday, the bank pledged its unwavering commitment to empowering women in order to enable them to overcome every obstacle of accessing quality Banking services needed to assist the growth of their businesses.

As part of the efforts to connect directly with the target market, the star actress who is now known as ‘Mama Yanga’ undertook a market tour to interact with the women and gain first-hand knowledge of how the product is being received in the market.

Speaking at the event in Ibadan, the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Unity Bank Plc, Mrs Tomi Somefun stated that the “Yanga Account heralds a new dawn for my fellow women operating businesses in South West Nigeria.”

She noted that “the Yanga account is open to all market women in farming, fashion design, tailoring, frozen food, pastry and baking, cosmetics, jewellery designs and making, skincare, eateries and restaurants, etc. whether living in the communities or cities.”

She reiterated that “the Yanga Account is conceived and designed for the financial literacy and empowerment of Nigerian women. It is about making sure that our women who make up 55 per cent of the financially excluded Nigerians have access to basic and life-changing financial services.”

Also speaking, Sola Sobowale invited all Nigerian women who operate businesses in the South West to embrace the incredible opportunities offered by the Yanga account to grow their businesses.

She said: “This is the first time that a bank will specifically design a product to cater to women and I am excited about the inherent benefits of this account and the endless possibilities that it brings to my fellow women. I invite all my fellow women in South-West Nigeria to sign up for the Yanga Account and watch their levels change.”

On his part, Group Head, Retail, SME Banking and E-Business, Unity Bank Plc, Mr Funwa Akinmade said: “Female-led MSMEs in South West Nigeria continue to play pivotal roles in the contribution of the MSMEs to the economy of Nigeria and that has informed this special activation of Yanga account in Ibadan today.

“The Yanga account is a well-packaged banking product that combines several services that most small businesses owned by women will need to become profitable. We are optimistic that Ibadan women and all others across South West Nigeria will embrace the Yanga Account and leverage its full benefits to grow their businesses.”

With the launch of the Yanga account, Unity Bank said it underscores its retail strategy which continually aligns with the vision of the Central Bank of Nigerian and the financial services ecosystem to provide needed support for Nigerian women by enhancing access to wealth-creating opportunities in the financial services sector.

Industry watchers believe the retail product has the potential to aggressively deepen financial inclusion, which recent research by Enhancing Financial Innovation & Access (EFInA) has shown “can benefit individuals, families, and businesses, supporting key outcomes such as GDP growth.”

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.

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Banking

Keystone Bank Introduces Incubator Scheme for Startups

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Keystone Bank Principles for Responsible Banking

By Modupe Gbadeyanka

A specialised incubator scheme with offerings to address the needs of startup businesses has been introduced by Keystone Bank Limited, a fast-growing financial services provider.

The initiative tagged The Keystone Startup Advantage Programme (KSA Programme), will provide the necessary support for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) and startups in Nigeria.

This is in line with the vision of President Muhammadu Buhari for the growth of the SMEs sector and aligns with the United Nations Envision #2030 Sustainable Development Goal (UN SDG) 8 – to promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment, and decent work for all.

“Recent reports reveal an increasing attraction of foreign Venture Capital investment into the African startup ecosystem, with Nigeria boasting of the largest number of startups in Africa.

“In 2019, Africa’s venture capital investments rose to an all-time high. According to Partech, 234 African tech companies raised $2.02 billion in 250 equity rounds. This indicated a 74% increase from 2018’s figure of $1.16 billion raised by 146 startups in 164 rounds.

“2021 witnessed increased venture capital funding in African startups between $2.25 billion and $2.8 billion. As of August 2021, a national newspaper published a report that Nigerian startups raised $276.5m within seven months,” a statement issued on Monday by the bank stated.

“There is a growing interest from several foreign investors who are keen on investing in Nigeria’s digital economy given the nation’s ranking as one of the leading startup ecosystems in Africa.

“These recent trends have led to the passing of Nigeria’s Startup Bill (NSB), set to leverage ICT platforms to create jobs while ensuring that the diversification of the economy creates more support to other emerging sectors,” the financial institution added.

In his comments, the Divisional Head, Retail, SME & Value Chain Division, Keystone Bank, Mr Anayo Nwosu, said capacity building remains key for the growth and development of SMEs, adding that SMEs in every part of the world are the livewire of the economy.

“Like in every economy of the world, SMEs are the lifelines. They contribute significantly to the economy’s GDP, creation of jobs and wealth, economic prosperity, and of course, all these details to economic growth and development,” he explained.

“There are so many challenges associated with birthing a business in the country but by plugging into the ideas and experiences shared by experts in the industry at this training and also the grants, the sky is their starting point.

“Through the programme, it is our vision as a bank to impact 100 startups annually and up to 1,000 startups in the next five to ten years,” he said further.

Mr Nwosu further disclosed that the KSA programme, a three to four-month Investor Readiness scheme, will adopt a blended approach, as it will offer a hybrid option with virtual and physical sessions.

He also added that three successful SMEs/startups from the programme will win a N3 million grant each to support their business operations.

“The modules will be both tutor-led, and self-study modules within a friendly e-learning platform. It will be an intensive programme designed to have groups as well as one-on-one mentoring and coaching sessions during the period.

“The programme will serve as a platform to connect innovative SMEs and tech startups with potential investors.

“Startups will also be able to get the knowledge and skills needed to fast track their business to the next growth phase.

“The programme will be premiered on January 24 and 25, 2022, with an Open Day webinar tagged Building Sustainable Startups. Applications will open on January 31 for interested and eligible tech startups & SMEs with innovative ideas, solutions and business methods to submit entries.

“All the information needed to learn more about the programme, its opening webinar and how to apply are available on the bank’s website,” he concluded.

Keystone Bank is a technology and service-driven commercial bank offering convenient and reliable solutions to its customers.

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Banking

First Bank Reaffirms Support for Business Owners in 2022

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First Bank Sympathy Letter

By Adedapo Adesanya

First Bank has reiterated its commitment to supporting the growth of businesses in Nigeria as a stepping stone to invigorate the country’s economy and development.

This promise was made by the Chief Executive Officer, First Bank, Mr Adesola Adeduntan at the Nigerian Economic Outlook 2022 webinar organised by the tier-1 lender on Thursday in Lagos.

During his opening remark at the virtual event, he said, “As a bank, we have a legacy of supporting business owners as they are also the engine for economic growth and development in Nigeria and across Sub-Sahara Africa.”

“In line with our renewed vision to be Africa’s bank of the first choice, First Bank will take the lead in driving the development of the different sectors and industries within the economies where we operate to support overall economic growth and sustainability.

“As a bank that is woven into the fabric of society, this webinar is further reinforcing our support and collaboration with stakeholders as we demonstrate our commitment and willingness to be the partner of the first choice to our customers,” he said further.

He said the webinar was one of such avenues to provide the opportunity to assess the performance of the Nigerian economy across key indices in 2021 and benefit from expert opinions on the expectations and forecast for 2022.

Mr Adeduntan said it would also provide excellent insights on the key factors that would shape both the global and local economic landscape in 2022.

He noted that in 2021, global outputs rebounded and recovery was strong following improved vaccination efforts, as well as support from the monetary and fiscal authorities.

According to him, the fourth wave of COVID-19 omicron variant created some level of caution, impacting the activities of the fourth quarter of 2021 and leading to the push for booster jabs and reinstatement of COVID protocols.

He, however, noted that specific key lessons can be gleaned from the economic and related activities that the business environment witnessed in 2021.

The banker noted that these lessons and other expected occurrences in 2022 were vital ingredients to the planning processes of the bank’s esteemed customers and stakeholders.

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Banking

CBN Promises Adoption of PAPSS by Nigerian Banks

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adoption of PAPSS

By Aduragbemi Omiyale

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has assured other African countries that it would drive the adoption and implementation of the continent’s new payment system, the Pan-African Payment and Settlement System (PAPSS).

Governor of the CBN, Mr Godwin Emefiele, made this promise on Thursday at the launch of PAPSS, a platform designed to ease cross-border transactions and reduce third currencies for intra-African trade.

Before now, trades in Africa, especially cross-border transactions, required the use of third currencies like the United States Dollars, the British Pound Sterling, Euro and the Chinese Yuan.

With the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) last year, the need for a payment system to simplify cross-border transactions became necessary and the Africa Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank), in collaboration with the African Union (AU) and AfCFTA came up with PAPSS.

While speaking at the launch in Accra, Mr Emefiele said Nigeria is excited by the opportunities in the adoption of PAPSS, noting that this was why the country became actively involved in the programme.

The banker said the “CBN will ensure the financial institutions under its jurisdiction accept PAPSS and recommend it to businesses across Nigeria.”

He stated that, “Prior to the launch of PAPSS, settlements for intra Africa trade required a third currency and a non-African correspondent bank. This resulted in an estimated loss of close to $5 billion annually and undermined trade in Africa countries.

“The launch of PAPPS gives the fresh opportunity and aspiration for the African continent. It will simplify cross-border transactions, reduce third currencies for intra-African transactions and remove the need for correspondent Banks and ultimately amplify intra trade significantly,” he said.

“As a percentage of total trade, intra-African trade is expected to increase to 35 per cent from 15 per cent in five years with infrastructure provided by PAPSS as payments and settlements are resolved

 “With the growing pace of digitisation in financial services, which has been accelerated from the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, PAPPS can serve as a viable platform for supporting e-commerce in Africa,” he added.

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