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Impending mass sack looms at Access Bank

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By Manny Ita

As corporate institutions gear up for some form of activity next Monday, with the easing of lockdown occasioned by the Covid-19 pandemic, there are signals that jobs would be lost as employers make adjustments to stay afloat. The Group Managing Director/CEO, of Access Bank Plc, Herbert Wigwe, has hinted at an impending mass sack that he says will affect mainly the outsourced staff, constituting 75 per cent of the bank’s workforce.
Mr Herbert Wigwe in a video call via Zoom with employees where he passed the information to his employees and the information gone viral on social media, also hinted at imminent heavy pay slash, announcing that he has taken the lead by reducing his own pay by as much as 40 per cent. He equally announced what he described as unavoidable branch closures as part of measures to keep Access Bank afloat in the post-COVID-19 pandemic era.
The Access Bank GMD was seen in the video saying: “We don’t need as many security men as required. Even to the fact that we are not going to have all of our branches open between now and December.
“We certainly don’t need all the security men, we don’t need all the tea girls; we don’t need all the tellers, etcetera. So, that number of staff which represents 75 per cent of our staff strength, is one that, I think, we basically need to speak with their employers with the view to getting them to rationalise to the levels that we think will be necessary to basically sustain a mean but actually customer-service oriented institution.
On pay slash, Mr Herbert Wigwe says: “I will be the first to take the hit and I’m going to take the largest pay cut which will be as much as 40 per cent. The rest I will have to cascade right through the institution. Everybody may have to make some adjustments of some sort.”
A top source at Access Bank confirmed the authenticity of the video to Journalists
The source, who spoke on Friday morning on the condition of anonymity, stressed that the 75 Mr Herbert Wigwe refers to in the video “constitute outsourced staff”, explaining that “it is their employers – not Access Bank – that would decide those to be affected.” He also stressed that the 40 per cent salary cut does not apply to all staff.
Reacting to the situation when contacted for comments, Head, Corporate Communications of the Bank, Abdul Imoyo told Journalists, “I have no reaction.”

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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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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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