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Heritage Bank, 5 others receive FG’s letter of engagement to open 774, 000 SPW beneficiaries’ accounts

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Following its commitments to teeming entrepreneurs and youths’ empowerment, Heritage Bank Plc, Nigeria’s Most Innovative Banking Service providers has been engaged by the Federal Government to commence account opening for beneficiaries of the Special Public Works Programme through-out the 774 local governments.
Also, five other financial institutions- Zenith, UBA, Access, Fidelity, FCMB are part of the banks appointed to engage in this exercise.

The Minister of State for Labour and Productivity, Festus Kenyamo announced issuance of letters of engagement to six Nigerian banks to commence account opening with Bank Verification Numbers (BVN) for the 774,000 participants of the SPW Programme in their branches, through-out the 774 local governments.
The information was disclosed via the verified Twitter handle of the minister.

Recall that 1,000 participants were drawn each from the 774 local government areas in Nigeria for the Special Public Works Programme. In response to the nature of diversity and remoteness of some participants, the minister allayed the fears of missing out from the registration by the beneficiaries, stating that it has gotten assurance from the banks that even in places where they have no physical presence or branch, registration centers would be provided; hence participants don’t need to travel far.

The minister said, ‘‘The banks assured us that even in LGAs where they don’t have branches, temporary registration centers would be opened in such LGAs so that the participants would not have to travel far to open their accounts”.
The minister further remarked that the breakdown of banks taking care of each of the LGAs will soon be published.
Explaining the core areas of the SPW programme, Kenyamo said, “Special Public works department is one of the four (4) core focus of the NDE. It seeks to identify and optimize employment opportunities that abound in the public works sector by organizing the skilled, un-skilled and semi-skilled persons that are unemployed to carry out utility, environmental, infrastructural development and sanitation works.

Speaking on this development, the MD/CEO of Heritage Bank, Ifie Sekibo stated that engaging the bank on such arrangement was a demonstration of Heritage Bank’s commitment to using financial inclusion to boost entrepreneurship development, which is critical to its mission to create, preserve and transfer wealth across generations.

He reiterated the bank’s commitment on investing in human capital development, especially entrepreneurs for critical economy recovery.

Expressing Heritage Bank’s feats in the areas of innovativeness in the aspect of empowering Nigerians- entrepreneurs and youths alike for economic growth, Sekibo explained, “On the economic level, you know that entrepreneurship drives employment, it drives social change, so we are really doing it for both social and economic change.”
Meanwhile, he reiterated that the bank had continued to make efforts to lead the recovery of the Nigerian economy through championing several empowerment schemes like HB Lab, The Next Titan, Youth Innovative Entrepreneurship Development Programme (YIEDP), Centre for Values in Leadership (CVL) on Young Entrepreneurship Business Training Programme (YEBTP), Young Entrepreneurs and Students (YES) Grant and Nigerian Youth Professional Forum (NYPF), amongst others.

Sekibo further explained that Heritage Bank’s various entrepreneur schemes in the support for business had always focused on dependable job-creating sectors, such as agricultural value chain (fish farming, poultry, snail farming), cottage industry, mining and solid minerals, creative industry (tourism, arts and crafts), and Information and Communications Technology (ICT).

He restated that the aim of Heritage Bank being at the forefront of youth empowerment is to emancipate the latent entrepreneurial spirit in the teeming youths to unleash their support to the growth of the economy.

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Banking

Ecobank emerges Agric Lender of the Year 2020 ……..BAFI Awards

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Ecobank Nigeria has emerged the winner of “Agric Lender of the Year” award at the prestigious Business Day’s Bank and other Financial Institutions Awards (BAFI). The bank was winner among other strong contenders to clinch the coveted award over the weekend.  According to Publisher of Business Day Newspapers, organisers of the event, Frank Aigbogun, Ecobank emerged winner from more than six strong nominees that were vetted, from which three were selected for the judges’ final choice. He stated that Business Day analysts spent over four weeks assessing the performance of Ecobank and its peers to arrive at  its decision.  He lauded Ecobank’s support for financing rural farmers for food sufficiency, providing employment, creating awareness to showcase the potentials in the sector and partnering government agencies, local and international development partners to develop the agric sector.

Receiving the award, Segment Head, Public Sector/AgriBusiness, Mojisola Oguntoyinbo said the award was well deserved, stating that Ecobank has been at the forefront of financing the entire value chain of agriculture thereby supporting the emergence of new entrepreneurs in the sector.  According to her, “As a bank, we are glad that our efforts at developing the agriculture sector of our country are being recognised. This is an encouragement that we should step up our support for the national economy.”

According to her, “Earlier in the year, we announced Agriculture Businesses Finance Scheme which will see us commence the disbursement of agriculture loans to practitioners in different value chains in the sector within the next two years. We have Agric Schemes to support over 70,000 farmers with special loans to increase their capacity and yields in support of the CBN 2020 wet season programme with the Maize Growers, Processors and Marketers Association of Nigeria (MAGPAMAN).  We are also in partnership with the Nigeria Incentive-based Risk-Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL), the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the Development Bank of Nigeria (DBN) and other developmental partners to double the amount of credit provided to the agricultural sector over the next two or three years.”

Ecobank has been actively leveraging entrepreneurship as a strategy to tackle poverty and growing unemployment in Nigeria through the creation of relevant platforms. One of such platforms is the Ecobank Xpress Point, the bank’s Agency Banking proposition which enables Agents carry out financial transactions on behalf of Ecobank and earn commission on transactions processed. Ecobank popularly referred to as the digital bank is also using its various  platforms including PoS, Omnilite, Omni, ATM, Mobile banking, Ecobank Mobile app, EcobankPay and Ecobank Online, among others to facilitate ease of transactions for customers.

The BAFI Awards is adjudged the most rigorous, prestigious and transparent awards programme in the Nigerian financial industry. Since its inception, Business Day has implemented an audit based approach in the evaluation process, meticulously reviewing shortlisted company’s financial reports, commissioned customer perception surveys, and analysts’ opinions to determine winners in the different award categories.

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BUSINESS

Kia Launches First of its Kind Live Stream Showroom in Nigeria to Offer Customers an Innovative Digital Experience

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Kia Motors Nigeria has announced the launch of a highly innovative and first of its kind, ‘Live Stream Showroom,’ a new online platform in Nigeria, that offers customers access to personalized virtual viewings of their best-in-class cars from the showrooms.

The Live Stream Showroom offers a completely digital, online platform that allows anyone or customers using a smartphone to have a live video session with Kia showroom for a digital experience tailored to meet their individual needs. Customers will receive a one-on-one consultation with live responses to questions, and explore the design and features of their chosen model, answer to the customer queries and see demonstrations of new technology and functionality on demand.

The pandemic has been turning daily lives upside down these past few months and the disruption is certainly not over yet. Thus, there’s a need to constantly adapt and find new and creative ways of performing everyday tasks, and inspecting a car is no exception to that. The new Live Stream Showroom platform is introduced in Nigeria as part of the boundless initiative of Kia to improve the showroom experience and bring it close to the people at the comfort of their homes.

The new platform prioritizes customer convenience and ensures a seamless digital experience that is the same as a physical showroom visit. This commitment toward customer value-led innovations come as the company establishes its leadership position globally in the future automotive industry under its Plan S strategy.

“Live Stream Showroom demonstrates our continued commitment to tailoring the car-buying journey and ownership experience to the demands of our customers with virtual viewings,” said Olawale Jimoh, Marketing Manager, Kia Motors Nigeria. “By launching this new platform, we aim to stay ahead of the curve in digital sales and marketing in this time of transition.”

Recent consumer demand shows a strong indication that customers are looking to take more of the car-buying journey online. The recent data collected by Kia globally shows that 83 percent of consumers prefer to carry out product research online before making a purchase, while 47 percent of consumers expressed interest in using online platforms for future purchases.

As a customer-centric leading auto company in Nigeria, Kia has been over the years been at the fore of a more modern and digital customer experience. when other automakers were heavily rooted in the traditional brick and mortar showroom-visit. The launch of their omnichannel customer acquisition through different online platforms; live chats, social media, responsive contact center, automated email marketing had formed the fulcrum of the company’s customer engagement over the years.

It’s no surprise that the newly launched Kia Livestream showroom is best suited at this time that there is even more emphasis on alternative sales channels and people are increasingly conducting their research from the comfort of their homes and even turning to online platform car buying for the safest possible experience. The Kia Live Stream Showroom application can be accessed via the company’s website, www.kiamotorsnigeria.com under the ‘Buying Tools’ navigation menu.

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Banking

COVID-19: FIRSTBANK LAUNCHES NEXT-GENERATION ATM, SPEARHEADS INNOVATION IN ELECTRONIC BANKING IN NIGERIA

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In the light of COVID-19, FirstBank has launched the FastTrack ATM, a Next Generation ATM and first of its kind in Africa, designed to promote financial activities on the ATM devoid of any form of physical interaction with the machine. The introduction of the FastTrack ATM which is done in partnership with Inlaks enables customers carry out cash withdrawals without having to touch the interface of the ATM.

With the FastTrack ATM, widely referred to as Touchless Solution, the customer carries out the transaction by using his or her mobile phone to perform the needed steps designed originally for implementation on the ATM. By using one’s phone, the transaction is carried out – in advance – through the Bank’s USSD or mobile banking option. Upon the schedule, the customer visits the FastTrack ATM to complete the transaction by tapping a contactless Near Field Communication (NFC) card on the ATM to withdraw his or her cash.

FirstBank customers can now leverage the real-time mobile banking capabilities of their cellphone to activate cash withdrawals at the FastTrack ATM. The ATM solution is the Bank’s response to control the spread of COVID-19, whilst promoting the safety of customers that carry out transactions at the ATM.

Speaking on the launch of the FastTrack ATM, Dr. Adesola Adeduntan, CEO, First Bank of Nigeria Limited said ‘at FirstBank, we are driven to provide seamless financial solutions to ensure our customers are able to timely carry out their transactions in safe, secured and efficient ways, thereby putting them ahead in digital banking, not just in Nigeria but Africa. We are delighted to set the pace regarding the use of the Next Generation ATM in Africa which enables customers to use their mobile phones to remotely initiate ATM-based cash withdrawals via our *894# USSD banking or FirstMobile application. At the core of our strategy lies innovation which is critical to adapting to the new normal’.

According to Olufemi Adeoti, Managing Director, Inlaks, “given that consumers are more adaptable to mobile technology Inlaks – the Africa’s leading Information Technology Solutions provider together with Hyosung ATM OEM are partnering with FirstBank to introduce the first fully compliant COVID-19 FinTech ATM. This is in alignment with the ‘new normal’ desired customer experience which includes digitalization and delivering a secure contactless cash access to the bank’s FirstMobile customers for better user experience, simplicity, speed and convenience’’

In recognition of its giant strides at promoting electronic banking in the country, FirstBank’s mobile banking application – FirstMobile –  was recently awarded the Best Mobile Banking App award 2020 in the Global Finance Best Digital Bank Awards 2020 as well as 2019 Best Mobile Banking App by Global Business Outlook.

FirstBank has been at the forefront of promoting electronic banking solution in Nigeria. In 2017, the Bank was recognized as the first financial institution in Nigeria and the West-Africa sub-region to issue 10 million ATM cards to customers across the country. The bank was the second in Africa to achieve the milestone.

These feats are achieved through the trusts in its industry leading innovative banking solutions by over 10 million customers on its USSD *894# banking platform and over 4.1 million customers on its FirstMobile banking application, endearing the Bank to process about 30% of card transactions in the entire banking industry in the country.

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