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Heritage Bank Introduces Intelligent Digital Platform

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Heritage Bank Plc, Nigeria’s most innovative banking service provider has taken a bold step to revolutionalise the banking sector with the introduction of an advanced intelligent digital experience known as Octopus.

 

The solution which is full-fledged digital bank, has been described by financial technology experts as a game-changing innovation that is poised to connect all your bank accounts with your Debit Card details or account holder information.

 

Octopus by Heritage Bank represents an omni-channel multi-platform experience squarely targeted at the customers of tomorrow; young, smart, professional, tech savvy pioneers of the new digital economy.

 

Bank agnostic, Octopus will provide all customers of any Nigerian Bank the opportunity to access a platform that consolidates and connects all their Bank accounts delivering convenience and ease of access on an innovative platform and digital community

 

It is designed to deliver omni-channel user experience across multiple devices; where most of customer’s daily city activities (banking, cinemas, stock markets, social interactions, churches, universities, meetings, restaurants, utility [e.g. DSTV, PHCN], fans clubs, associations and any other communities) have been digitized and consolidated.

 

It serves as a single window into several players of the same industry and it is embedded in the same social media platforms where people are such as Facebook and Telegram.

 

Announcing the launch of Octopus, Ifie Sekibo, managing director of Heritage Bank, described this initiative “as a truly intelligent adventure that does everything differently.

 

According to him, Octopus is an intelligent digital experience that combines digital transactions and a community lifestyle that empowers customers with the power to build their world and perform digital transactions how they want.”

 

He further added that Octopus would be available across all major platforms, including the revolutionary Octopus Bot on the Telegram platform, Facebook as well as Octopus Apps on the Google Play store (for Android) and Apple store (for iOS), which could be used by non-Heritage Bank’s customers.

 

All the information customers would need to begin to enjoy the Octopus service is available on www.octopus.ng <http://www.octopus.ng>

 

The platform owes numerous benefits to the users, thereby enable small businesses key into electronic payment system easily, efficient collections, social integration, retention strategy, bills payment, mobile virtual top-up, funds transfer, balance enquiry, movie show time, news.

Nigeria CommunicationsWeek believes that technology makes life more exciting and helps improve the lives of people around Nigeria and indeed the world. So since 2007, we have devoted our energy to independent reportage of technology and how they affect lives.

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E-Financial

Nigerians Trust Mobile Phones, Doubt Banks- Study

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A new survey has shown that Nigerians trust mobile phones more than banking institutions and that digital banking through the mobile phone is here to stay in Nigeria.

 

The survey which borrows significantly from an earlier study in 2013, is direct attestation of the growing influence of mobile phone and mobile money.

 

The study was conducted by Communication Week Media Limited, a certified global ICT company with over 20 million subscribers and publishers of Nigeria CommunicationsWeek, a fiercely independent business decision instrument with support from MobileMoneyAfrica, Africa’s leading resource for mobile financial inclusion.

 

The findings drew from interviews and questionnaires conducted and administered in major cities across the country.

 

They were asked: if they forget their mobile phones and ATM cards or cheque books, which will they go back for?

 

Almost all the interviewed and respondents said they will go back for their mobile phones.

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The study also found that mass banking through the mobile phone is imminent in the country, if the many roadblocks to mobile banking are removed.

 

Emmanuel Okoegwale, lead researcher said that the report is comprehensive and is expected to guide the industry as financial institutions and mobile operators as well as users on the operations of mobile money services.

 

The study also supports the use of agents to reach the unbanked millions in Nigeria and suggests efforts to place Nigeria on same status with Kenya and Brazil.

 

According to the study, more than 70 percent of the semi urban and rural population that were interviewed completely choose to have mobile phones as the primary channel for financial services rather than visit a bank.

 

Another 95 per cent choose not to go back home to pick their cheque book/ savings books but will go back to pick their phones if left at home.

 

Mobile money service is touted as a game changer as it enable customers to conduct basic financial transactions such as mobile money account opening, buying airtime, deposit and receipt of cash, as well as pay utility bills through their mobile phones.

 

If implemented properly, it can offer enormous benefits to the Nigerian economy by channeling the huge funds in the informal sector through the banking system to engender economic development.

 

In Africa, traditional banking is not a viable option for many of the poor and those living in rural areas.

 

High fees, low education and literacy, as well as long distances between banking facilities get in the way of simple transactions.

 

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UBA Group Starts Strong in 2018, Grows Profits to N26.6Bn in Q1

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United Bank for Africa Group (UBA, Pan African financial institution, has released its unaudited first quarter results, showing significant growth across major income lines.

 

Following a sterling performance in the 2017 financial year, UBA Group delivered another impressive 18% percent year-on-year growth in gross earnings in the first three months of 2018.

 

Leveraging on strong growth in both interest and non-interest income, UBA grew top-line to N119.4 billion in the first three months of the year, ending March 31st 2018 and the Group recorded N26.6 billion in profit before tax, compared to N25.5 billion achieved in the first quarter of 2017.

 

The Group also recorded a profit after tax of N23.7 billion in the first quarter, an impressive 6.2 percent year-on-year growth compared to N22.4 billion achieved in the corresponding period of 2017. The group sustained its strong profitability recording an annualized 18% Return on Average Equity (RoAE).

 

Driven by an 18% year-on-year growth in interest income, UBA Group recorded an 18% percent year-on-year growth in gross earnings to close at N119.4 billion for the three months period ending March 2018, compared to N101.2 billion recorded in the first three months of the year 2017.

Kennedy Uzoka, GMD/CEO of UBAKennedy Uzoka

Mr. Kennedy Uzoka, Group Managing Director/CEO of the United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc, expressed satisfaction with the Bank’s impressive performance in the first quarter of 2018, despite intensifying competition and moderation in yield environment in Nigeria and Ghana.

 

“This set of first quarter result is a good start to the year and a reflection of our capacity to sustainably grow earnings over the medium to long term. We recorded 18% growth in gross earnings, as both interest and non-interest income grew 18% and 19% respectively. Notwithstanding the moderation in sovereign yield in Nigeria and Ghana, we achieved a 60bps improvement in net interest margin (NIM) to 7.6%, as we extract efficiency gains from balance sheet management,” Uzoka said.

 

“I am particularly pleased with the 8% year-to-date growth in our retail deposit, as it reflected the benefit of improved customer service and continued customer acquisition. We are committed to exceeding our 2018 deposit growth target in the year, with strategic focus on retail, low cost savings and current accounts, which is critical to sustaining our NIM uptrend,” he explained.

 

He said, “We are committed to responsible lending, as we seek to maintain our asset quality. We achieved a 40bps year-on-year savings in cost of risk, a reflection of the quality of our loan portfolio.

 

He expressed confidence on the steady recovery of the Nigerian economy and improving fundamentals of most African countries, where the bank operates.

 

Uzoka emphasized the increasing relevance of its African operations to its bottom line, adding that, “Reflecting our market share gain, we have grown the balance sheet by 6% in the first three months of the year, as we increasingly become systemically important across the 19 other African countries, where we operate. Barring unforeseen circumstances, we look forward to sustaining this strong performance through the year, with the primary objective of delivering superior return to our shareholders.”

 

Also speaking on UBA’s financial performance and position, Ugo Nwaghodoh, Group CFO said Management is committed to delivering on the Group’s financial goals for the year.

 

He said, “We are diligently executing our priorities for the year, as we focus on profitable growth. We are making strong progress in Nigeria, where our continuous market share gain is translating into higher profit. We grew non-funded income by 20%, driven by annuity-type offerings in digital banking. Precisely, the electronic banking income grew 33% year-on-year and we recorded an impressive 40% growth in trade service income, as customers become loyal ambassadors of our enhanced service channels and customer service.”

 

Continuing, he stated, “I am pleased that our drive towards optimal scale across our subsidiary operations is progressing well. More importantly, the contribution of these foreign operations to the Group’s profit is impressively reflective of geographic diversification.

 

“We remain resolute on our determination to leverage growing scale across our foreign operations to extract further cost efficiency, with the objective of moderating our cost to income ratio. More so, our profitability in the first quarter of the year reinforces the Group’s capacity to deliver on target, as our profit for the period translates to 18% return on average equity” Nwaghodoh s

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Insurance Regulators Seeks Technology Adoption To Grow Industry

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Insurance Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) summit organised by Continental Reinsurance, in Swakopmund, Namibia is promoting technology adoption which is considered germane to industry growth and development.

The summit, with the theme: “Insurance and adaptation in the face of technological change in Africa”, was part of efforts to see how technology could transform insurance business in the continent.

The Continental Re’s CEO Summit is hosted in different countries each year, attracting representations from over 20 African countries (both Anglophone and Francophone). Speaking at the Summit, Continental Reinsurance Group Managing Director, Dr. Femi Oyetunji, noted that this year’s summit would be focusing on technology because nearly everything in business now is governed by technological advancements.

“For the industry to fully optimise, players need to adopt technology in all processes to help drive penetration. Historically, the insurance industry has been slow to adopt technology compared with other sectors and this is stifling its growth,’’ he said.

Charles Murito, Chief Executive Officer, Google Kenya, said digital transformation within the insurance sector helps drive acquisition, retention, as well as the servicing of claims, adding that insurance companies need to become fluid, seamless and assistive by using technology to enhance their operations.

According to a recent report by Timetrics, the Namibian insurance industry grew in terms of gross written premium at a review-period CAGR of 10.8 per cent and insurance penetration stood at 7.9 per cent, which was higher compared to other African countries in 2013, such as Kenya (3.4 per cent) and Morocco (three per cent).

Other topics that were discussed at the 2018 summit were the changing regulatory framework and fundamentals of instituting a regulatory compliance strategy, how players can catalyse insurance technology for sustainability and how players in the sector can optimise the current media environment for exposure.Since 2013, Continental Reinsurance has been organising the CEOs summit yearly for insurance industry leaders and other strategic stakeholders to network, share ideas and best practices.

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