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Fidelity Bank’s innovative products set to drive CBN’s financial inclusion ambitions

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With the disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, Nigerian Banks are finding that innovation is a critical requirement for survival even in the short term.  This is especially germane given the new vista opened by digital banking solutions as well as the drive to close the financial inclusion gap in the country.

In the last decade, technological innovations have been established to be even more important to human existence and development, as they create avenues for enormous impact on human convenience and economic advancement. The National Centre for Technology Management (NACETEM), an agency of Nigeria’s Federal Ministry of Science and Technology that provides critical knowledge support in the area of Science, Technology, and Innovation, has recently gone on record to reiterate the importance of technological advancements in the country and how it impacts levels of growth. This does not exclude Nigeria’s banking industry.

Positioning itself as a leader in innovative technologies within the banking industry, Fidelity Bank has, in the past few months, rolled out digital customer-friendly innovations such as Fidelity Insight, Fidelity Virtual Cards, the Pay Yourself initiative for corporates, the Fidelity Loan Against Turnover (FLOAT), and a feature that allows customers to generate a stamped statement of accounts. With these innovations, the fast-growing tier 2 bank has set out to address common transactional headaches of Nigerians.

Across the demography of working Nigerians, it is common to find employees on edge over the expectancy of their salary payments at the end of every month. Oftentimes, the payment is delayed as organisations struggle to complete payment processes on time. This headache is what Fidelity Bank’s Pay Yourself innovation is designed to solve. With the initiative, employees are able to decide when they want to receive their salaries via USSD between the ‘official’ payday and the last day of the month. In simpler terms, salary earners can decide to pay themselves whenever they want.

The Covid-19 pandemic brought with it new challenges of a necessity for reduced human physical interactions and has prompted many organisations to adopt the Work From Home (WFH) policy. There is also the category of people who find long queues at the Automated Teller Machine centres repulsive.

The introduction of the Fidelity Virtual Card by the Bank solves this headache. The innovation which has been specifically designed for web transactions can be used to shop on local or international online stores, pay bills, subscribe to services, amongst other things. An impressive characteristic of the Fidelity Virtual Card, which is best described as another secure payment option similar to the physical payment cards, is the ease with which the bank’s new and existing customers can generate their cards.

Applications for loans from banking institutions can sometimes be tedious, with many Nigerians finding the processes and requirements to secure loans too much headache to follow through. Fidelity Bank has deliberately set out to bridge this gap, introducing customer-friendly loan schemes such as the Fidelity Loan On Account Turnover (FLOAT). What particularly makes this product exciting is its easy terms and attributes, including no required collateral, guarantor or hidden fees.

On its part, the Fidelity Insight initiative provides customers with an insight into their spending patterns. For people who are dangerously casual with tracking their spendings, especially in a tough economy, the Fidelity Insight is a brilliant way to monitor financial dealings and make strategic spending plans.

At a time when demand for customer engagement and satisfaction is at its peak, technological innovations are even more important and critical to the assured growth of the banking sector. A new, fast-paced world of digitalisation means banking institutions now have to be on their toes in adopting efficient service delivery technologies to satisfy unabating customer thirst for smoother processes and innovative products in their day-to-day financial dealings.

Adopting inclusive digital culture encourages the remodeling or replacement of existing models in the development of service delivery by banking institutions. This ultimately leads to the creation of competitive intelligence or advantage among players in the sector. Other positives that can be attributed to digital innovations include continuous process improvement, improvement in brand recognition and value, the establishment of new partnerships and relationships, and increase in profitability.

As the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) targets a 95 per cent financial inclusion rate of Nigerians going into 2024, there is no gainsaying that the Nigerian banking industry owes a lot to their customers in terms of innovative products and services. With its bouquet of innovative solutions, it abundantly clear that Fidelity Bank is not only ready but willing to make CBN’s ambition a reality.

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ECONOMY & POLITICS

LG polls: Voters with Temporary Cards can vote – LASIEC

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The Lagos State Independent Electoral Commission (LASIEC) says voters in possession of the Temporary Voter Cards (TVCs) are eligible to vote in Saturday’s local government election in the state.

Justice Ayotunde Phillips (retd.), LASIEC Chairman, said this at a news conference on Friday at its headquarters in Yaba, Lagos.

Phillips said voters in possession of either the Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) and TVCs would be allowed to cast vote across the state.

She also reiterated that the commission was ready to conduct a free, fair and credible poll.

She said: “Voting process starts at 8.00 a.m. and end at 3.00 p.m., while those in the queue by 3.00 p.m. shall be attended to. Election shall be conducted with the use of smart card readers, PVC and TVC.

“Persons Living with Disabilities would be adequately assisted in the election process, while the elderly people, pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers shall be giving preference in casting their votes.”

According to her, the development that leads to a free, fair and credible election starts with the promotion of public confidence and trust in the process.

She noted that this could only be achieved through active involvement and collaboration with crucial stakeholders.

Phillips said that as part of preparations, non- sensitive materials had been deployed while the distribution of sensitive materials to all the 20 LGAs and 37 LCDAs would be done on Friday night in the presence of security agencies.

The chairman, who noted that 15 political parties would be participating in the election, assured the electorate of adequate provision for security of lives and property.

“The electorate and Lagos residents are being assured that there will be adequate security beyond the exercise.

“Security of lives and property before, during and after the election is fundamental and is being given topmost priority.

“The commission is leaving no stone unturned to ensure a successful, free, fair and credible election that is devoid of violence, intimidation and harassment,” Phillips added.

She urged all stakeholders to inform, encourage and mobilise voters to come out and freely express their political choice through the electoral process.

Phillips said the commission had embarked on stakeholders’ sensitisation programmes in all the five divisions of the state to stem the tide of voter apathy.

According to her, the commission has concluded recruitment and training of all ad hoc staff for the poll.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that security operatives with patrol vans and Armoured Personnel Carriers (APCs) have been strategically positioned in and around the LASIEC office.

Vehicular movement also has been restricted around LASIEC office located at No 2 Birrel Avenue Sabo, Yaba while the entire stretch of Lancaster Road, Sabo, Yaba has been barricaded.

(NAN)

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APPOINTMENTS

Wema Bank announces the appointment of 2 new directors

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Wema Bank Plc has announced the appointment of Prince Olusegun Adesegun and Mr. Adeyemi Adefarakan as Non-Executive Directors, with effect from July 19, 2021.

This disclosure is contained in a notification which was sent by Wema Bank to the Nigerian Exchange Group Limited (NGX), esteemed shareholders and other stakeholders, signed by the Company Secretary, Johnson Lebile.

According to the notice, the appointments of Prince Olusegun Adesegun and Adeyemi Adefarakun have both been approved by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

 

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Business

Poultry Association warns of 10% job losses

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The Lagos Chapter of the Poultry Association of Nigeria (PAN) has warned that Nigeria may likely witness 10% job losses if the immediate problems facing the sector including the rising cost of feeds are not addressed by the federal government.

This was disclosed by PAN’s Lagos chapter Chairman, Mr Godwin Egbebe, in Lagos on Thursday, according to the News Agency of Nigeria.

What the Association is saying about Poultry feed

“If the growing price of poultry feed and a host of other challenges in the sector continue, 10% of Nigerians may lose their jobs as poultry farmers continue to shut down across the country.

The situation on ground is that the poultry sector is actually at risk because of the growing prices of poultry feed.

The situation has made a lot of poultry farmers to close shop because of the problems in the sector.

Mr Egegbe added that some farmers have called it quits and have started advertising to sell their cages off because they want to close their businesses, he urged the FG to take the problems in the poultry sector very serious.

“It is like they are not taking us serious the way they take the problems in the cattle sector,” he said.

“The kind of employment that the poultry sector gives to Nigeria, the cattle sector cannot give such but the government is not taking the poultry sector serious.

We want the government to do all they can to intervene in the sector so that these poultry farms do not become grounded.

This is because if they do, about 10% of the population will lose their jobs.

He stated that prices cannot keep rising as customers were barely managing to buy poultry products because of the current high prices leading to an egg glut in the market.

What you should know

In a bid to support poultry farmers in Nigeria, Our source reported last month that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), moved to crash the price of maize as it has approved the release of 50,000 metric tonnes of maize to 12 major producers, from the strategic maize reserve (SMR) under its Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP).

The apex bank said that the release was to enable moderation and price control in the Nigerian market adding that the action, the third of such releases to the companies, was intended to check activities of middlemen that cause hoarding and artificial scarcity.

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