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AfDB Inaugurates N1Bn Support for SMEs Development Through Fortis bank



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The African Development Bank (AfDB) has inaugurated N1 billion loan through Fortis Microfinance Bank Plc to help boost Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) development in the country.

Mr Ilan Wolkov, a Consultant with AfDB , said at the inauguration that the disbursement would be done through four branches of the bank in Abuja.

Wolkov, the Team Leader of Frankfurt School of Finance Management said,“this is the official opening of the pilot phase that we are setting up in four branches in Kubwa, Dei-Dei, Mararaba, and Utako’’.

“The fund is meant to specifically fund businesses of SMEs customers, and what is important today is that we are officially signing our first Fortis/ AfDB pilot client under this scheme.

“We believe that funds will greatly increase customer’s experience with possibly larger loans with its flexible conditions for collateral and guarantees,’’

It would be recalled that AfDB and Fortis Micro Finance Bank Plc had in Sept. 2016 signed an agreement for a one billion naira credit facility for onward lending to SMEs operators in the country.

The partnership was meant to boost Nigeria’s private sector development through the financing of projects that are strategically aligned to the country’s development agenda.

Also speaking, Mr Adewale Aderounmu, the Executive Director, Development Finance of Fortis reiterated that the fund was to primarily support the development of small businesses in the country.

According to Aderounmu, small businesses are the engine of growth for any economic development both in developing countries and even the developed world.

“So, the AFDB in support of the SME sector in Nigeria evaluated the bank and deemed it viable to partner with us as our developing partner in developing the SMEs sector in Nigeria.

“Up till now, more than 600 customers have benefited from the AfDB loan and after this event, we still expect to disburse a number of additional loans under the SMEs funding from AfDB.’’

On criteria for accessing the fund, Aderounmu said the applicant must already be in business as the fund was not meant for startup but for business owners to take their businesses to the next level.

He noted that the facility was open to both already existing and new customers of the bank.

According to him, the bank has assigned officers who not only market the loan to customers but also ensure that the loans are paid back as at when due.

He said the loan officer or relationship manager as they were being called, were attached to every loan beneficiary to continuously engage the customers to ensure continuity of the business relationship.

A beneficiary of the facility, Mrs Nkiru Nwabueze commended the management of Fortis bank for the good work they had been doing over the years in assisting small businesses in the country.

Nwabueze expressed delight at the facility she was given and urged other customers to develop the culture of borrowing money and paying back when due.

“We should be more honest in doing business with the banks as they are willing to give loans and we need to develop the culture of paying back loans as it is the only way to grow the economy.’’

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Customers to Sue Banks over Stamp Duty Collections




Stakeholders have called on the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to withdraw its circular mandating banks to collect stamp duties from customers’ bank accounts, stressing that such directive and practice is unconstitutional, according to the Tribune.

According to them, if the practice of deducting stamp duties from customers’ bank accounts is not suspended, it is expected that other stakeholders would challenge the banks in court, on a case by case basis.

Thus, the impending legal suits that would emanate as a result are likely to disrupt the activities of banks and result to additional legal costs, they warned.

Stakeholders at various occasions have also charged deposit money banks to suspend the practice of collecting stamp duties on receipts for deposits and transfers by customers.

The Stamp Duties Act (SDA), Chapter S8, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria (LFN) 2004 (SDA) provides the legal basis for the imposition and collection of stamp duties in Nigeria.

A tax audit and financial advisory services firm, Deloitte, in a document titled: “Stamp Duties on Bank Deposits and Transfers: Are There Unresolved Issues?” and obtained by Tribune stated that, stamp duties are chargeable on all instruments relating to matters executed between a company and individual, group or body of individuals and those executed between persons or individuals. The instruments the firm noted, upon which stamp duties are chargeable include bond, bill of exchange, promissory note, covenant, conveyance on sale, lease, mortgage, among others.

This general rule according to the tax experts did not include receipts for transfer to self, transfers from savings accounts and receipts in respect of salaries and wages, yet, further to a statement issued by CBN on 21 January 2016 banks have continued to deduct these duties.

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UBA Disrupts the Market, Delights Customers with Callback Technology




It would appear that the United Bank for Africa Plc has carved a niche for itself and gone way above its peers with its deployment of Al-powered Callback Technology.

The Al-Powered Callback Technology is one that enables the bank to call back customers instantly when they contact the bank for one reason or the other.

The UBA Group seems to have taken advantage of this high-powered system that even western banks are yet to fully implement as it has gone beyond the legacy banking systems, to omni channel marketing and social media lead generation.

This largely involves meeting its customers where they are – on websites, email, social networks, and cross-device platforms.

It is interesting to note that customers calling the bank for various reasons now have the option of requesting a call back to get on demand information. This has been implemented by using web to phone callback technology developed by Lucep.

Basically, the way it works is that customers can see the website widget deployed on the bank’s website for several financial services and products, wherein they can enter in their name and number, and select the reason for which they want a call back.

Thereafter, the Lucep AI takes the callback request, and distributes it to the right team, ensuring it goes to an authorized member of the team who has the app on their smartphone. This member can then connect back to the customer through the app itself.

Such instant response systems have huge benefits especially when it’s about following up on new customers who are inquiring about banking services.

If for example, a potential client is searching for the best mortgage rates and calls several banks including UBA.

UBA being the only bank that has implemented this Al -powered technology with an instant lead response system, is able to give the customer a call-back within one or two minutes.

This activity will naturally give the bank an edge over its competition as it will probably be the first to reach the customer back. The bank is therefore able to engage customers and offer their services faster than any other bank.

It is this kind of attention to detail, personalized service, and deft use of the latest technologies that has helped UBA stay ahead of its competitors in Africa, and ahead of the trends in the global banking industry.

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Five ‘Must’ Know Before Putting Your Money in Bitcoin




Bitcoin is a type of digital currency in which encryption techniques are used to regulate the generation of units of currency and verify the transfer of funds, operating independently of a central bank. Bitcoin is now worth $4,317.

Due to this, many are encouraging others to invest in the cryptocurrency. Nigerians are slowly embracing Bitcoin.

In line with this, Jumia Travel, the leading online travel agency share things Nigerians must know before joining the Bitcoin train.

More People Are Using Bitcoin
Despite the fact that some Nigerians are struggling to accept Bitcoin, more people are embracing it after years of gradual growth.
Hence, whether we like it or not, Bitcoin is the future and we have no choice than to use it.

Retailers And Vendors Are Accepting Bitcoin
You can now pay for whatever you purchase online with Bitcoin as some retailers have made it possible to settle transactions with it. Some notable companies that accept Bitcoin include Expedia, Microsoft, Subway, Newegg, TigerDirect, Tesla and PayPal. So, do not be surprised when some Nigerian companies start to accept Bitcoin.

Bitcoin Transfers Are Fast And flexible
While many financial institutions charge you or take days to process transactions, Bitcoin allows transfers from one account to another almost for free. Of course, you must already have your money in Bitcoin form. There is no need for any middlemen. As a result, the transfer is seamless.

Extremely Volatile
Bitcoin is still growing like earlier mentioned and there are a number of market factors that influence it. It very dependent on the rules of demand and supply.
The more people are willing to buy Bitcoins, the more the Bitcoin value will increase. Conversely, if more people sell, the prices will decline.

Treat It As Speculating, Not An Investment
Cryptocurrencies have a bright future as a new way to conduct commerce and business. That is not the same thing as saying that their value right now is sustainable. It’s early days yet, and, while the number of businesses accepting cryptocurrencies are growing, it’s not big enough for most of the demand to be built on legitimate trade.
This means that buying cryptocurrencies is speculation, not investment. Hence, you should be willing to lose the money you invest in buying Bitcoin!




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