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Unity Bank introduces USSD in Nigerian languages

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Unity Bank Plc has launched an Unstructured Supplementary Service Data, USSD banking in Nigeria’s three major languages – Yoruba, Hausa and Igbo.

This makes Unity Bank the first Nigerian commercial bank to offer USSD in a local language.

USSD transactions have gained traction over the past five years among bank customers, compelling Nigerian financial institutions to make it a core component of their e-payment solutions.

According to the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System, NIBBS USSD transactions grew by 35 per cent in 2018 to N261 million from 25 per cent in 2017.

The introduction of Nigerian languages is an added feature to the Unity Bank’s USSD Platform and by dialling the Short Code: *7799# on any mobile phones, Unity Bank’s customers will now have the option to continue their transactions in any of their preferred languages.

A statement by the Bank adds that “the upgrade in the features of the transaction the platform is part of Unity Bank’s initiatives aimed at achieving an optimal level of interaction on the USSD banking channel. It is targeted at market segments at the lower level of the pyramid intended to drive greater financial inclusion in the country as well as deploy more solutions for fast, efficient and convenient banking, whilst targeting the underbanked”.

Commenting on the initiative, the Group Head, Retail, SME & E-Business, Unity Bank Plc, Olufunwa Olugbenga Akinmade said that the solution will boost the existing e-payment channels available to the bank’s customers to further drive customer experience.

He stated that it would also help to deepen mobile payment and contribute to Nigeria’s drive to meet the 80 per cent financial inclusion target this year.

“What we have done is to expand the channel of access to our offerings. Nigeria’s teledensity, according to the Nigeria Communications Commission, NCC, is at 91.1 per cent as of 2019. This means that a solution like this will resonate with millions of Nigerians who are more comfortable transacting in their local languages,” he said.

He added: “This solution has now added to the bouquet of mobile solutions the bank has introduced recently to cater to the youth, mass market and MSMEs as we move to promote retail and SME business by enhancing mobile payment solutions to meet the needs of our customers.”

About Unity Bank Plc

Unity Bank is among Nigeria’s leading retail banks with over 200 business offices spread across the 36 states and Federal Capital Territory of Nigeria.

The Bank offers wide-ranging financial services to individuals, businesses and the public sector of the nation’s economy.

As a further commitment to the growth of the nation’s economy, Unity Bank focuses on SMEs and Agribusinesses.

The Bank is driven by the vision to be the retail bank of choice for all Nigerians and this is at the core of all that they do.

Finance

UBA denies report linking Bank, Tony Elumelu to N41bn NITEL fraud

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UBA
UBA Chairman, Tony Elumelu, following up with the proceeding during UBA's virtual AGM on Wednesday, April 29, 2020 - Photo Credit: LinkedIn/Tony Elumelu

The United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc has denied the report credited to the chairman of the Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions, Senator Ayo Akinyelure, alleging the bank’s involvement and the indictment of its chairman Tony Elumelu in a N41 billion Nigerian Telecommunications Limited (NITEL) fraud.

NITEL

Nigerian Telecommunications LTD, NITEL office in Lagos (source: Punch/Google

According to a report by THE WITNESS, Mr Elumelu’s lawyers demanded a public apology and retraction of the claim within seven days of receipt of the letter or face legal action.

The said reports credited to Akinyelure alleged the amount was withdrawn “systematically from NITEL for nine years” under the leadership of the UBA.

“Our Client is shocked by this false, baseless, and mischievous allegation as neither him nor any of the organisations associated with him has ever been involved in or indicted for any fraud as was falsely alleged by Senator Ayo Akinyelure,” the letter by Elumelu’s lawyers read.

“Our Client is also alarmed and appalled by this deliberate peddling of falsehood and misinformation against an unblemished personal and business reputation, painstakingly built by our Client over several decades with great personal sacrifice and unquestionable integrity.

“Our Client has instructed us to, and we have demanded an immediate open, public and unreserved retraction of the said statements credited to Senator Akinyelure and an apology from Senator Akinyelure for this false allegation and defamation of our Client,” it added.

Group Managing Director/CEO of UBA, Kennedy Uzoka, is due to appear before the Senate committee on Wednesday.

[Source: The Witness]

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Finance

Fintech1000plus honours three telecom network operators, members

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Fintech1000plus

Fintech1000plus, Nigeria’s foremost informal association in the banking, financial and allied technology sector recently honoured three telecommunication companies and some of its members following their immense contributions, sacrifies and support in the association’s CSR COVID-19 intervention for the NCDC.

Leading the honours list as Fintech1000plus Heroes are; Airtel, MTN, Gobalcom, Rev. Sunday Folayan, Sola Fanawopo and other volunteers.

The awards were presented by Abubakar Suleiman, Managing Director Sterling Bank plc and Omoke Adebanjo, Mastercard Senior Vice President, Regional Franchise Lead (Middle East & Africa). Both are members of Fintech1000plus.

Speaking at the virtual event which was held recently, Iyin Aboyeji, Founder Future Africa and member Fintech1000plus said, “after some weeks after COVID-19 hit the country we observed some technology challenges which the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) was having. They included; inability to efficiently disseminate mass media communication & information to all mobile phones concurrently, and incidence reporting which includes; tracking, tracing and citizens action points.”

The association after discussing among its members and interacting with the NCDC decided to put together a number of front-end interfaces that will rapidly use the Covid-19 Risk Assessment triage to quickly analyze information from the public, while storing the information in a backend database for subsequent analysis and follow-up.

The front ends were made up of; Interactive Voice Response system (IVR), USSD application in major Nigerian languages, desktop tools for web-based access, and a mobile APP.

Moreover, as much as possible, make the front ends toll free or ZERO cost to the people, and for the telcos to make the portal access free for such incident response systems.

Acknowledging the outcome of the Fintech1000plus support, the Director General of NCDC, Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, commended the association, its telecom partners and volunteers for a job well done.

“The fight against COVID-19 is not a government or public sector battle alone. But that of every stakeholder of the Nigeria project. Fintech1000plus support is well appreciated and a commendable partnership from the private sector. It is our wish that such will continue, not just during this COVID-19 pandemic but in other areas in future”, he said.

Fintech1000plus is an informal association of professionals in the financial technology sector that adopts a pragmatic approach to solving problems, especially those that impact the ability of Nigerians to do business and make payments and Settlements Electronically.

In line with its CSR activities, it played significant roles in the fight against the global Covid-19 pandemic working with NCDC.

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Finance

Zenith Bank unveils ‘Zenith Beta Life’, promo to reward customers weekly

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Zenith Bank

Zenith Bank Plc, Nigeria’s leading financial institution, has commenced its “Zenith Beta Life” Promo to reward customers of the Bank with gifts every week starting from 31st July 2020 to 30th July 2021.

During this period, fifty (50) customers will be selected via raffle draw each week and rewarded with gifts worth NGN30,000.

The Promo is open to existing and new Zenith Bank customers with the following raffle qualifying criteria:

  • maintain a minimum deposit of NGN5,000 for the period;
  • request and collect a Zenith Bank Card; and
  • download and register on the Zenith Mobile App or register for *966# EazyBanking.

Zenith Bank Plc is recognised as one of the most customer-focused financial institutions in the country and was voted the most customer-focused bank in Nigeria for the retail and SME segments in the 2018 KPMG Annual Banking Industry Customer Satisfaction Survey (BICSS).

A clear leader in the digital space with several firsts in the deployment of innovative products, solutions and an assortment of alternative channels that ensure convenience, speed and safety of transactions, Zenith Bank has clearly distinguished itself in the Nigerian financial services industry through superior service quality, unique customer experience and sound financial indices.

In recognition of its track record of excellent performance, Zenith Bank was voted as the Best Commercial Bank in Nigeria 2019 by the World Finance and the Best Digital Bank in Nigeria 2019 by Agusto and Co.

The Bank was also recognised as Bank of the Year and Best in Retail Banking at the 2019 BusinessDay Banks and Other Financial Institutions (BOFI) Awards.

More recently, the Bank emerged as the Most Valuable Banking Brand in Nigeria, for the third consecutive year, in the Banker Magazine “Top 500 Banking Brands 2020”, number one Bank in Nigeria by Tier-1 Capital in the “2020 Top 1000 World Banks” Ranking published by The Banker Magazine, Best Bank in Nigeria 2020 in the Global Finance World’s Best Banks Awards 2020, and Bank of the Decade (People’s Choice) at the ThisDay Awards 2020.

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