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Heritage Bank Agent Outlets Now 400, Moves to Badagry

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(L-r): Roseline Hunyigan, head of Agent Banking, Heritage Bank Plc; Yusuf Adeojo, an agent, owner of Thy Grace, Corner Shop; Hunyingan Mifrinso, zonal business coordinator, South-West, South-South, Agent Banking, Heritage Bank; Oluwakemi Adewunmi and Daniel Ude,, experience centre manager, during the commissioning of Thy Grace one of Heritage Bank’s Corner Shop at Mowo Local Government, in Badagry.

Heritage Bank Plc., said that with the alarming number of market women, artisans and underserved population who are unbanked, it has deepen the retail banking structure by growing agent banking base to 400 ‘Corner Shops.

This is in line with the financial inclusion strategy of the Central Bank of Nigeria, as Heritage Bank Plc launches agent banking services at the coastal town of Badagry in Lagos State.

The bank, over the weekend, commissioned an agent, Thy Grace, to provide a range of financial services to customers in the neighbourhood of Mowo under the Badagry Local Government.

Ifie Sekibo, MD/CEO of Heritage Bank, explained that the bank has continued to set standard in the launching of ‘Corner Shop’ to cater for the need of traders and artisans at different locations across the country.

According to him, the shop is aimed at giving the unbanked, especially in the rural areas the opportunity to enjoy financial services without the risk and stress of walking kilometres in order to visit a bank branch.

However, speaking at the commissioning in Badagry, the Zonal Business Coordinator, South-West, South-South, Agent Banking, Heritage Bank, Oluwakemi Adewunmi, described the feat as a major breakthrough that would relieve the people living in the Ikogazebbe community of the stress they hitherto faced in transacting banking services.

She said with the new Agent commissioned to represent Heritage Bank in the locality, banking services would no longer constitute a headache, but rather would be stress-free for all categories of bank customers.

According to her, anybody can benefit from the services of the agent whether you are a customer to Heritage Bank or another bank.

Adewunmi explained that customers can open bank account, deposit cash, transfer money even to other banks and also pay bills. In view of the peculiarity of the community, she disclosed that the agent deploys mobile POS; adding that the device would make the agent make banking services available at the doorsteps of customers.

With the inclusion of Thy Grace, she said Heritage Bank now boasts of about 400 agents it has established in different parts of the country. She commended the agents for their commitment over the past two years that Heritage Bank’s campaign for financial inclusion started.

Her words: “The level of their loyalty is very high and commendable. Our agents maintain a clean record and they have been effective.”

In his remarks after receiving the Certificate of Authorisation to carry out agent banking on behalf of Heritage Bank, Hunyingan Pius Mifrinso, promoter of Thy Grace, commended the bank for the approval given to him.

He assured that the services of his agency would help to bring banking services closer to the host community. Before now, Mifrinso disclosed that for anybody to transact banking services, the person had to travel over a distance of 15km before getting to the nearest bank. His words: “The Ikogazebbe community is about 15km far from Badagry and for anybody to do a small banking transaction; the person has to travel to Badagry town.” Apart from the time usually wasted in doing that, he said transportation cost a minimum of N400.

Meanwhile, Mifrinso assured that with the new dispensation, the people in the neighbourhood could heave a sigh of relief as banking is now made easy. In order to effectively cover the area, he disclosed that his agency would recruit some roaming agents to comb the community for traders who might not have the time to deposit the proceeds of their sales in banks.

Agent banking is the delivery of financial services outside conventional bank branches, often using non-bank retail agents and relying on technology, such as card readers, point-of–sale (POS) terminal or mobile phones for real time transaction processing. It is an initiative to actualise the CBN’s policy on financial inclusion.

 

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So since 2007, we have devoted our energy to independent reportage of technology and how they affect lives.

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E-Financial

Vodacom Director Urges Accountants to Leverage Sage/ACCA Partnership

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By peter oluka

Mr Oluseyi Olanrewaju, the finance director at Vodacom Business Africa (Nigeria) Limited, has re-emphasised the need for accounting professionals to embrace digital culture.

He made the remark while delivering keynote address at Sage-ACCA Continuing Professional Development (CPA), event held in Lagos Tuesday, which was the launch of partnership between the two entities to provide platform for accountants to embrace digital transformations.

Olanrewaju emphasized that rapid growth and development in information technology has brought about digital revolution in economic, social and cultural fields, and bequeaths today’s accountant with the responsibility to improve on the skills to remain relevant.

With the recognition of the accounting discipline as an information system, he said, the accountants can’t undermine the influence that the changes in processes of carrying out transactions with the usage of IT in business operations.

In a bid to keep up with changing conditions and the enabling inclusion of information era the need to embrace the digital culture in accountancy can’t be overlooked especially in medium to large scale business.

“Technology should not be viewed as a threat rather tools to boost accounting profession. Digitization is the future; as accountants we can’t run from it. Yes, manual processes are ridden with high risks on accounting and costly. Thus, changes is the environment necessitates changes in applicable accounting tools and skills required to carry out accounting roles”, Olanrewaju said.

Determinants of business that qualify as medium to large include: IT staff & skills including several specialists, multiple locations, large capex in relation to other businesses in operation in the same industry and business with main considerations for technology purchases being advanced features and security.

Using the acronym: VUCA- Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous situations, he reminded the participants that, roles of accountants have changed overtime, demanding for real-time ‘results’. “The environment demands you react quickly to ongoing changes that are unpredictable; it requires you to take action. Therefore, there is little you can achieve today in the ‘VUCA’ world without digitization”.

The keynote speaker also applauded Sage X3 offering, such as robust accounting processes; consistency; time saving; delivers visible metrics; helps to improve operational efficiency and assists users to be in line with government regulations and international accounting rules.

Participants at the interactive session with other C-level ACCA members also learnt how Sage X3 offers the bedrock of the adjustments required in today’s accounting field.

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E-Financial

CBN 14% Interest Rate: Investors Still Expecting Cut

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Lukman Otunuga, a research analyst at FXTM.

By peter oluka

Nigeria’s central bank has yet again left benchmark interest rates unchanged at 14% in November amid a ‘fragile’ economic recovery.

But, Lukman Otunuta research analyst ForexTimes, in his comment, believes investors are still keen on interest rate cut.

The apex bank also left the cash reserve ratio (CRR) at 22.5 percent.

CBN governor, Godwin Emefiele made this known on Tuesday while announcing the decision of the committee in Abuja.

Emefiele said only one of the nine members of the committee voted against the decision.

“Inflation in particular requires very close monitoring to gain clarity on the medium-term optimum path of monetary policy,” Emefiele told a news conference.

The monetary Policy Committee had begun its last meeting for the year on Monday.

According to the committee, the interest rate was held to prevent exchange rate pressure.

Commenting on the decision by the apex bank, Otunuga said, “With GDP growth in the third quarter rising by 1.40%, it seems that the central bank is hesitant to take action anytime soon.

“I believe that Nigeria’s improving economic landscape, and signs of inflationary pressures easing, are likely to support investor expectations of a rate cut.

“With inflation in Nigeria at 15.91%, there is a suspicion that the CBN may be waiting for a more sustained decline before moving ahead with rate cuts to support economic growth.

“As the year slowly comes to an end, investors will continue to observe Nigeria’s hard economic data and inflation figures for hints as to when the CBN might act in 2018”.

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E-Financial

Bitcoin Smashes Through $8,000 for the First time

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Bitcoin hit a new record high on Monday after smashing through the $8,000 level for the first time over the weekend, marking an almost 50 percent climb in just eight days.

The new high came after leading U.S. payments company Square Inc said late last week that it had started allowing select customers to buy and sell bitcoins on its Cash app.

Bitcoin traded as high as $8,197.81 on the Luxembourg-based Bitstamp exchange, up over 2 percent on the day and around 48 percent up since dipping to $5,555 on Nov. 12.

An eye-watering eightfold increase in the value of the volatile cryptocurrency since the start of the year has led to muliple warnings that the market is in a bubble, and institutional investors are broadly staying away.

Retail investors, however, as well as some hedge funds and family offices, are piling into the market. The “market cap” of all cryptocurrencies hit an all-time high of over $242 billion on Monday, according to trade website Coinmarketcap.

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