Diamond Bank, CBN, NCC, others partner to deepen financial inclusion
By Kokumo Goodie, Lagos, Nigeria
Diamond Bank, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and others have partnered to bridge the gap in providing financial services to the unserved market segment across the country.
This partnership was highlighted during the annual Digital Expo conference and exhibition in Lagos.
The Chief Executive Officer of the Bank, Uzoma Dozie, who was represented by the Executive Director -Business Development, Chizoma Okoli, highlighted the importance of identifying the key requirements of the unbanked and unserved market segment as this will enable financial institutions to develop and create products targeted at meeting those needs. She stated that the Bank was already thinking along these lines and listed some of the steps Diamond Bank has taken to ensure that financial services are available to all.
Chizoma said: “Part of our activities in this space include the development of products such as the BETA and CLOSA accounts. BETA targets market traders and also supports small and medium enterprises (SMEs). The BETA account employs agents (called BETA friends) who go to the areas of comfort of these market traders and offer them all the financial services they need without impacting on their way of life, whilst the CLOSA account was created for those without Banks in their areas. People of influence in the community were selected to act as agents of the bank to ensure trust and those in the community were assured that the Bank would assume responsibility for their money once it was deposited with the agents.”
With ‘Innovative Financial Services for the Vast Unserved Segments’ as its theme, the conference was designed as an inclusive series addressing different segments of digital financial services with focus on how such services can leverage on technology to bring access to the markets at the bottom of the pyramid.
Speaking on behalf of the NCC, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, its Head, Competition and Tariffs, Mr. Bashiru Idris, noted that the commission has been in the forefront of promoting financial inclusion through the provision of proper information technology infrastructure.
He said: “In the past, money orders and the use of intra-city transport was used to send money down to those in the hinterlands but the growth in the telecommunications industry and that of financial services has overtaken these methods. There are still areas of improvement in these areas.”
He said the Commission would not relent in its quest of ensuring an enabling environment for the financial industry through the provision of efficient information technology infrastructure.