Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (ETI), its Nigerian subsidiary Ecobank Nigeria and the Bank of Industry (BoI) have signed a memorandum of understanding to cooperate in deepening financial services delivery to micro, small and medium enterprises in Nigeria.
A statement from the bank explained that the partnership has the potential of bringing millions of the unbanked in Nigeria into the mainstream financial system.
Under the memorandum of understanding, Ecobank Nigeria will deploy its distribution network nationwide, comprising branches and an array of digital channels including automated teller machines, -points of service and agency networks across Nigeria. This will make for efficient administration of BoI’s various financial inclusion initiatives covering loan disbursements, collections and monitoring.
Ecobank Nigeria is a key partner in the implementation of BoI’s financial inclusion programmes for poverty alleviation, wealth creation, enterprise promotion, employment generation and other related objectives, the statement added.
It noted that supporting the financially excluded has been a critical part of Ecobank’s strategy.
“To ensure inclusion of target beneficiaries into the financial system, disbursement of funds will include digitised transfers to beneficiary bank accounts, including simple minimal ‘know your customer’ self-service digital accounts or e-wallets linked to mobile phones powered by Ecobank Mobile,” it added.
The Group Executive for Consumer Banking at ETI, Patrick Akinwuntan said: “We are delighted to partner with the Bank of Industry, a key development finance institution, on financial inclusion in Nigeria. Bringing all the unbanked in Africa into the mainstream financial system in an economically viable manner is the right thing to do. Leveraging our digital platforms across Africa, reduces poverty and ensures the economic and financial development of Africa, which is the vision of the founders of Ecobank.”
Also, the CEO, Ecobank Nigeria, Mr. Charles Kié said: “This memorandum of understanding provides the opportunity for deeper collaboration between the institutions to expand access to financial services much needed by micro, small and medium enterprises to scale up their activities and to help drive growth and development of the Nigerian economy.”
On his part, the acting Managing Director, BoI, Waheed Olagunju said the partnership was in consonance with Bank of Industry’s developmental mandate of catalysing industrial development in Nigeria.
“Given that Bank of Industry currently serves the country from 17 locations, and in order to efficiently provide effective service delivery for our current and potential customers as well as create jobs and wealth for the citizenry, we shall leverage Ecobank’s wide branch coverage in Nigeria and its efficient service delivery drive.”
Olagunju said the relationship would also promote intra-African trade.