Unity Bank Commits to Empowering Underbanked Women

Nume Ekeghe

The Divisional Head, Retail, SME Banking and E-Business, Unity Bank Plc, Mr. Olufunwa Akinmade has said that the bank in launching its latest retail product called ‘Yanga,’ has created a unique product proposition aimed at empowering the underbanked women entrepreneurs in Nigeria.

Akinmade, in a statement, cited that the recent EFInA report said that there are 51 million Nigerian women above 18 years of age, with over 41 percent of the unbanked. Out of these figures, it is estimated that there are 14-18 million female entrepreneurs mainly in the micro SME categoryand that Unity Bank is posed at bridging that gap..

According to Akinmade: “Recent research has shown that Nigeria has the highest number of women entrepreneurs in the world, with an estimated 40 million SMEs, of whom women constitute approximately 42 percent.

“These women have proved beyond reasonable doubt that they have the capacity to create wealth and contribute productively to the economy. However, a lot more needs to be done and it starts with empowering them with the right tools to harness this entrepreneurship potential.

“Currently, they face many institutional and cultural hurdles while starting or running their businesses. For instance, a recent report shows that only 22 percent of female entrepreneurs have access to finance against 34 percent of males.

“This is part of why we have introduced Yanga to bridge this gap while also narrowing the population of underbanked women entrepreneurs”.

Akinmade further explained that the Unity Yanga product will play a critical role in boosting financial inclusion and narrowing the underbanked women population as the account comes with a unique product proposition that includes an easy to operate and free to open a Savings account, with no identification required, customized debit card, dedicated sales officers.

He identified other unique features including special banking agents in each market location and quarterly Seminars at main market locations anchored by Unity Bank and its alliance partners.

“By rolling out this scheme across all geopolitical regions, Unity bank’s objective is to work assiduously towards reducing the huge numbers of underbanked women in the country, ”he added.

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