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Financial inclusion: Access Bank targets 65m customers by 2022

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Determined to boost financial inclusion, Access Bank Plc says it is targeting a customer base of 65 million by 2022, through financial digital products.

Chinedu Onuoha, Access Bank Head, Business Development and Planning, gave the figure at the unveiling of ‘Access Money Wallet’, a product introduced to drive financial inclusion in Lagos on Friday.

Onuoha said that the bank was targeting a minimum of 65 million customers by 2022 which would be driven through financial solutions.

He said: “We have about 30 to 31 million customers presently, by 2022 we intend that we will have a minimum of 65 million customers, and the effort to drive the figure is through financial solutions like Access Money Wallet.”
Onuoha, who is also Chairman, Association of Licensed Mobile Payment Operators, said “all the statistics shows that a good number of Nigerians don’t still have access to financial services”.

He said that the bank, from time to time, reviewed processes to drive the financial inclusion drive of the Federal Government by ensuring that all Nigerians, especially adults, had access to financial services.

He stated: “What we do from time to time is to see what is it we can do or change; and operate differently from the way it is being done today  to induce these Nigerians to financial services and also to bring these services closer to them.”

Onuoha explained that financial services accessibility was the key issue in ensuring financial inclusion.

Speaking on Access Money Wallet product, he said that the product was designed for customers who had abandoned their accounts because of inability to provide the needed Know Your Customer.

He stated: “Access Money Wallet is a different type of account which we make available to or design for customers who for some reasons do not have all that is needed to provide for KYC for other types of bank account.

“There are some accounts that you want to open they will ask you to bring utility bill and address, among others.

“But we know the peculiarities of our country Nigeria, some Nigerians are good citizens who work every day to earn a living but don’t have places where you have utility bills and addresses.

“What we have done with Access Money Wallet is to say just come, give us your name, give us your date of birth, give us your gender and your age.
“And once you are an adult and a legitimate citizen we will give that wallet. It’s an account that allows transactions to be done through the mobile phone or also by going through our agents outlets across the country.

“So, that is what we are trying to do with Access Money Wallet to deepen the financial inclusion.”

According to him, the bank has in the market the highest number of  financial inclusion customers of roughly 18 million customers.

He said: “What we discovered over time is that due to the way the market is operated and due to do some regulations that come from time to time a good number of these customers do not meet some requirements for operating properly the way accounts traditionally were been operated.

“Some of them pulled back and stayed back, our recent campaign is to tell them that we have a solution to it.

“We have roughly about 15 to 18 million customers who are financial inclusion customers, the current campaign is to make them reactivate their accounts.”

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BUSINESS

Senate investigates banks for not remitting taxes on deposits

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The Senate on Tuesday directed its Committees on Banking, Insurance and other Financial Institutions, to investigate alleged non-remittance of taxes on bank deposits and dividend payments.

The Witness learnt that the it also asked the committees to report back within four weeks.

This followed the adoption of a motion by Senator Uche Ekwunife (PDP, Anambra).

Ekwunife said: “It has been discovered that the Central Security & Clearing System, CSCS and banks in Nigeria do not remit withholding tax on bank deposits and dividends to state government as and when due.

“Most state governments are unable to pay salaries and meet their financial obligations as a result of poor and dwindling revenue.

“Billions of naira are being held by banks either in form of under remittance or non remittance of withholding revenue.”

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CBN to banks: You must seek approval before sacking staff

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The Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN has said banks are no longer allowed to sack more than five staff without its approval.

This was part of the communiqué released by the Bankers Committee after its meeting on Friday.

The committee, in a circular signed by Director, Financial Markets Department, CBN, Angela Sere-Ejembi, emphasized that all banks should send a sample of Contract Letter issued to outsourced staff + SLA with the company being used to run outsourced staff.

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It stated, “Banks should note and be guided by the CBN circular in respect of laying off staff that is more than five. This requires apex bank’s notification and approval going forward.”

The Bankers’ Committee had said the mass sacking in banks would be reduced in the shortest time possible.

The committee noted that while it was working on how to reduce the level of job losses in the sector, there would always be reasons people would have to be sacked from their workplaces.

It explained that while the decision to sack bank workers had elicited a lot of sentiments from both the public and private sectors of the economy, the banks understood the implications of having to relieve workers of their jobs in view of the current economic situation in the country.

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BUSINESS

Ecobank Nigeria to host Regional Trade Forum 2020

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Ecobank Nigeria to host Regional Trade Forum 2020

Ecobank Nigeria is set to host its 2020 Regional Trade Forum in Lagos.

The Witness gathered that the forum taking place in March, will be a two-day event, providing the opportunity for exporters and importers within the African region to exhibit their products in a marketplace scenario with panel discussions by highly experienced and diversified stakeholders and leaders of thought in the industry.

Ecobank Nigeria is a member of the pan African banking group with unparalleled Africa wide Network Advantage across 33 countries catering for businesses and providing world class trade services to its customers. The Ecobank Group network has over 30 years been enhancing the financial integration of the continent. The Group provides solutions to facilitate trade in the various trade corridors and groupings across Africa

Announcing the Trade Forum in Lagos, Sunday Abah, Head Trade Finance of Ecobank Nigeria said Ecobank is using the forum to unveil its comprehensive trade solutions to its existing and prospective customers alike by sharing the various payment methods available to facilitate cross border trade throughout its network across Africa. According to him, Ecobank recognizes the role of exporters and importers in driving economies through trade.

“By creating a networking forum for importers and exporters via the trade exhibition slated for the first day of the forum, the Bank extends support to stakeholders in export and import businesses.

“Ecobank’s trade products and solutions are designed around two broad areas: Trade finance which enables customers benefit from adequate and well mitigated credit facilitation in the area of Import finance, export finance, bill discounting, trade loans, distributor finance, structured trade and commodity finance amongst others; also we do Trade Services, which gives our customers the advantage of speedy turnaround time and error free processing of Import Letters of Credit, Import collections, Customs bonds, Export collections and regional trade services amongst others,” he noted.

Ecobank’s unique intra-Africa trade solutions enable settlements of trade transactions and mitigation of payment risk; provide regional solutions and enable exporters obtain payment guarantees without the need for a letter of credit and its related costs to the importer. Ecobank works closely with clients in reviewing key factors regarding transactions processing, settlements, financing, and risk mitigation as well as credit enhancement. The bank boasts of a unique and large Pan-African platform that positions it to support trade at all levels. Its technology platform is designed to help unlock the opportunities of the continent through standardization across 33 countries, while fueling regional integration, trade and investment across borders.

The Ecobank Africa Trade Forum is expected to attract hundreds of guests and participants. Leaders from across Ecobank Group will also be attending to share their market specific trade knowledge and information.

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