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Autochek Appoints Robert Granados to its Board of Directors to Support Growth

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Autochek, the automotive technology company making car ownership more accessible and affordable across Africa, has appointed US automotive industry leader and veteran, Robert Granados to its board of directors to support its ongoing growth and expansion.

Robert has over two decades of global experience in leading and growing technology companies focused on providing solutions for the automotive industry value chain.

He is currently CEO of CloudOne, a marketing company that helps auto dealers find and engage customers.

He was Senior Vice President and General Manager at DealerTrack Technologies, where he led various units, including the finance and lender networks, inventory management and transportation, CRM, and independent dealer websites.

Post the acquisition of DealerTrack Technologies by Cox Automotive Inc., the global leader in providing automotive solutions, he served as Senior Vice President, Strategy, at Cox Automotive, where he performed assessments of new growth opportunities, expansion of current business offerings, and effectiveness of current products and services.

He served as Operating Partner at SNH Capital Partners, where he was CEO of the Automotive Portfolio which comprised of National Credit Center, the leading provider of comprehensive data, software and marketing solutions to US dealerships and ProMax, the leading software provider to retail automotive dealers, offering award winning CRM, desking, website, credit, and lead generation solutions.

He was also CEO of MAX Digital, a leading automotive inventory management and merchandising platform, supporting the company through a successful exit in 2021.

He will bring this vast experience to Autochek, supporting the integration of the Pan-African automotive industry to drive shared value for consumers, manufacturers, financial institutions and other stakeholders.

Autochek provides best in class technology and advisory solutions to car dealers, financial institutions and other stakeholders in Africa’s automotive ecosystem, supporting them to improve credit decisioning, collections, pricing, portfolio management and product development, as well as deliver an enhanced customer experience.

Since launching in 2020, Autochek has driven the penetration of auto-financing across Africa, enabling more consumers and businesses across North, West, East and South Africa to access financing solutions to purchase their desired vehicles.

In less than two years of operations, the company has worked with more than 70 financial institutions and more than 2,000 dealerships to process more than 80,000 car loan applications. Leveraging the vast reach of its online marketplace, the company originates auto loans powered by data analytics that makes it easier for financial institutions to offer credit to consumers.

Etop Ikpe, CEO of The Autochek Group, said, “We are excited to have someone of Robert’s calibre on our board with his vast experience from the most advanced automotive markets in the world.

He has played a major role in building many successful automotive technology companies and we are looking forward to leveraging his experience to support our continued growth as a company.

Robert Granados said, “There is a great opportunity to transform lives and livelihoods across Africa by making car ownership more accessible and affordable, and I am thrilled to be supporting Etop and the team to make this happen. Autochek has achieved so much success in a short period of time and I believe there is so much more to come.”

 


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Customs Says No NIN, No Food as FG Begins Distribution of Seized Food Items

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Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) has commenced the distribution of seized food items across the country, following a mandate from the federal government, in a bid to alleviate the economic hardships faced by Nigerians.

Customs Says No NIN, No Food as FG Begins Distribution of Seized Food Items

Beneficiaries would be required to provide a verifiable National Identification Number (NIN) to access the assistance.

Wale Adeniyi, customs comptroller-general, announced the initiative during a flag-off event in Lagos, highlighting the collaboration with other agencies to ensure direct distribution to those in need.

The distribution targets various segments of the population, including artisans, teachers, and religious organizations, with an emphasis on reducing food prices.

Adeniyi assured the public of the safety of the distributed rice, certified by NAFDAC, and outlined measures to prevent misuse or diversion.

The operation addresses food hoarding and smuggling, contributing to the government’s broader strategy to stabilize food prices and enhance national food security.

 

 

 


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Access Bank, FG Partner to Provide N50bn Funding for MSMEs

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Access Bank has said that it will be working with the Office of the Vice President to provide N50 billion as soft loans and grants to four million Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), in the country.

Chioma Ogwo, Head, Emerging Businesses at Access Bank Plc, disclosed this at the Inaugural Job Creation and MSME Quarterly Communications Forum in Abuja on Thursday.

Ogwo said the initiative was aimed at empowering businesses in Nigeria, by building their capacities and providing them with financial support.

According to her, 4 million MSMEs are expected to be empowered every year for four years, with 70,000 having access to finance while 300,000 will receive training.

She also mentioned that as part of the initiative, selected SMEs will have the chance to travel overseas and observe how businesses operate in other nations through its Business Exchange Programme.

Ogwo said: “So, this initiative, called the Youth Thrive by Access, is focused on MSMEs and we are looking at empowering them. There are different ways in which we are going to empower them. We are going to empower them by building their capacity and giving them access to affordable finance.

“We are going to build their capacities in different ways. There is going to be digital, technical, and also, skill acquisition training. With regards to finance, we are going to be giving them loans, and we are also going to be giving them grants.

“The grants are free. They are not paying us back. But, we are only giving grants to deserving SMEs who have done very well and there are price ranges for different categories.

“So, we have earmarked 50 billion for this intervention. For the first year, we will look at it and then will would review it”

While praising Access Bank for the initiative, Mr. Temitola Adekunle-Johnson, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Job Creation and MSMEs, Office of the Vice-President, stated that the objective was to remove obstacles to MSMEs’ loan access and to secure lower interest rates for them.

Johnson added that after evaluating the initiative’s effectiveness, the federal government would then consider whether to expand the funding.

According to him, “What we are trying to achieve is to be able to guarantee seamless and easy access to funding for the SMEs. We want businesses to be able to apply for funding and be sure that in the worst case, in 14 days, you have the funds that you need for your business.

“We do not want businesses to apply for loans and be waiting for disbursement in six weeks. Some of these businesses can fold up within those months. So, what we want, and what they have promised us, which we know they have the capacity to deliver on, is that this disbursements will be quick after the loan assessments are processed, so that we will help reduce the bottlenecks of MSMEs running from pillar to looking for funding.”


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MoneyMaster PSB Records Increase in Customer Base

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MoneyMaster Payment Service Bank, promoted and backed by digital services company Globacom has continued to witness tremendous increase in its customer base since it commenced operations.

The PSB which launched commercial operations in May 2022 in order to deepen financial inclusion in Nigeria is focused on the unbanked and under-banked in the country.

The number of customers has been on increase with majority of them attracted by the bank’s digital channels such as USSD, mobile app and internet banking which allow them to open accounts, buy airtime and data, pay utility bills and perform other services hitch free.

The PSB has also embarked several innovations, with new services introduced in recent times for the benefit of its customers across the country.

These developments, industry sources said propelled Nigerians to join the bank in order to enjoy series of top – notch financial services and also conduct their banking transactions assurance promptly.

The sources disclosed further that “There are currently over 4,000 billers on the MMPSB platform and that the number is growing on a daily basis.

“Through the platform, customers are able to pay for many essential services such as airtime, data, electricity, cable subscription, etc”.

The PSB is also retooling and reengineering its operation with several new initiatives to be unveiled soon for better customer experience, thus assuring them of exciting times ahead.


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