SurePadi, Polaris Bank’s Agency Banking initiative, has serviced over half a million customers impacting directly an estimated two million households across the seven business regions of the Bank nationwide, its first 100 days of introduction.
Beyond the direct impact on customers and households in Nigeria, the sheer volume and value in financial numbers on the gross earnings of the Bank has been significant as the Agency recorded giant strides in the number of services and transaction volumes it processed which was valued N10 billion.
The Bank in a statement quoted Mr. Dele Adeyinka, its Chief Digital Officer (CDO), as explaining that, in the first 100 days of introducing SurePadi, it had carried out over 500,000 services, and transaction volume above N10billion directly servicing over two million households, giving them easy access to cash for businesses and family needs.
According to Adeyinka: “As a result of this milestone, SurePadi was ranked 5th in Q1, 2020 by the Shared Agent Network Expansion Facility (SANEF) report—an indication that it is bridging the gap and helping people to meet their needs of accessing funds; as well as sending money to their loved ones.”
The CDO further stated that: “This is also part of Polaris Bank’s ongoing effort to drive financial inclusion among the underbanked and unbanked in line with the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) regulatory mandate; intimating that ‘from what we have seen so far, we are already making significant progress in this regard.”
“With SurePadi’s spread across far-flung areas nationwide, this laudable initiative by the Bank has shown another way to bank—without physically visiting a bank’s branch—which allows the customer to make cash deposits, transfer money and enjoy other banking services like bills payment and purchase of airtime amongst others”, he opined.
SurePadi Agents ensure individuals in the suburbs do not have to travel long hours to the city for their basic banking needs. This is because the gap between the tech-savvy and the low literacy clients has been bridged by the Agent who represents a convenient and comfortable alternative.
Aside from cash deposits and transfers, Polaris SurePadi is also intended to attract prospects to a host of other products and services that could better their lives as they enjoy the ease, convenience and cost-saving benefits from completing transactions in the comfort of their locality.
SurePadi offers financial benefits for stakeholders with the Bank’s introduction of viable partnerships with Supermarkets, Retail outlets, dealers in FMCG, Petrol Stations, etc. It is unique with comprehensive features to solve financial needs as users now have the opportunity to complete transactions to solve emergency needs without visiting the Bank.
In this COVID-19 era, where movement is restricted in some major parts of the world, including Nigeria, this platform also serves as one of the many measures by Polaris Bank to support the need to promote social distancing and reduce drastically where physically possible, interactions of customers in bank branches in line with protocols of preventing the spread of the disease.
Firstbank Hosts Summit to Promote Tech
First Bank of Nigeria Limited, has announced that the 2020 edition of its annual FinTech Summit will hold next Thursday virtually through Zoom meetings.
The 2020 edition of the summit, which is the fourth in its series is themed; “How Blockchain and Artificial Intelligence will Disrupt FinTech in Nigeria” and will be discussed by experts, key and leading players, policy influencers and regulatory officials in the Nigerian financial, banking and technological climate.
Chinedu Echeruo, founder of HopStop which was sold to Apple for $1bn will be leading the discussion as the Keynote speaker alongside other panelists; Musa Itopa Jimoh, director, Payments System Management Department and Aminu Maida, executive director, Technology & Operations, Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System Plc (NIBSS).
Representing FirstBank in the panel of discussants are Callistus Obetta, group executive, Technology & Services and Chuma Ezirim, group executive, e-Business & Retail Products.
Mr. Gbenga Shobo, deputy managing director, said, “The 2020 edition of our FINTECH summit will build on the successes achieved in the last three editions.”
BoI Increases Support to N53Bn
BoI Increases Support for MSMEs to N53Bnthe Bank of Industry (BoI) has disclosed that it made a total disbursement of N53 billion to micro, small and medium scale enterprises (MSMEs) in 2019, in demonstration of its commitment to the development the segment in the country.
This was a 56.3 per cent year-on-year increase from the N33.9 billion disbursed in 2018.
This was announced at the Bank’s 60th Annual General Meeting held virtually in line with COVID-19 protocols of the federal government.
During the year under review, the BoI stated that it disbursed a total of N234 billion to a total 10,145 enterprises, thereby facilitating the creation of an estimated one million direct and indirect jobs.
Presenting the Group’s financial scorecard for the year 2019, Mr. Aliyu Abdulrahman Dikko, chairman, Board of Directors, stated “I am also pleased to report that the group’s balance sheet remains strong while our business operations are in line with both regulatory requirements and global best practices.”
According to him, the Group grew its total equity by 13.5 per cent to N293.09 billion for the year ended 2019, over 2018 position of N258.24 billion.
However, he noted, the group’s total asset dropped slightly by 2.7 per cent to N1.04 trillion.
The Group also recorded profit before tax increase by 7.3 per cent to N39.34 billion year-on-year, over the N36.66 billion recorded in 2018.
On loans and advances, the Chairman said that despite a slow start in the first quarter of the year due to the build-up to the 2019 general elections, the Group recorded a growth of 16.7 per cent, from N634.11 billion in 2018 to N740.03 billion in 2019.
Interest income and interest expense increased by 20 per cent and 54 per cent on a year-on-year basis respectively, due to increase in loan book as well as the impact of borrowings.
He said, “in the course of the year, we made significant progress towards improving the size of our loanable funds, leveraging our strategic partnerships in the international market and the support of the Central Bank of Nigeria. The Bank was able to raise €1 billion (One Billion Euro) through syndication by international banks for onlending to SMES to create jobs.”
Mr. Kayode Pitan, managing director of BoI, described the year under review, which marked the 60th anniversary of Nigeria’s oldest Development Financial Institution, as a significant year for the Bank.
“As a Bank, we have survived 60 years and by God’s Grace, the Bank has done very well,” he said. “The balance sheet of the Bank, after 60 years, is now slightly over one trillion Naira; and the profit for last year was also very good.”
Beyond the profit, he said, the Bank made strong impact on the economy by disbursing over N200 billion in 2019 to over 10, 000 different institutions and organizations, including the about 60 per cent increase in disbursement to the SME segment.
“So for us, it was a good year,” he stressed.
Fraud: Access Bank Urges Customers to be Vigilant
Access Bank has urged its customers to remain vigilant and beware of the common tricks used by fraudsters to rob them of their monies.
Victor Etuokwu, executive director of Retail Banking, Access Bank Plc, expressed concern about the growing number of fraud cases being reported.
He implored customers to take more responsibility in safeguarding their funds and offered reassurance of the bank’s commitment to providing information relevant to identifying and fending off fraudsters.
He said: “Over the last few months, the number of reported fraud cases has spiked considerably.
This is not unexpected as the current economic hardships experienced due to COVID-19 have caused many to be vulnerable.
However, this trend has become very disturbing, while we urge customers to become more aware of the tactics employed by fraudsters. Access Bank will continue to educate customers on how to avoid falling victims as well as deploy resources to ensure the security of customers’ funds.
“The bank has identified smishing, phishing, social engineering, and identity theft as the most common methods used by fraudsters.
To aid the fight against this common enemy, we have put more power in the hands of our customers, through the 901911# USSD code. We have provided a platform through which customers can immediately deactivate their USSD profile by dialling 901911# from any phone in the event their mobile devices get lost or stolen.”
Responding to queries made by customers about the fraudsters approaching them, while disguising as the bank’s staff, Etuokwu added that “customers should be on alert as the bank will never ask for personal information such PIN, BVN, 16-digit card number, CVV, Password, OTP or Authentication Code for the mobile banking app. We urge our customers to ignore such calls, text messages or emails”.
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