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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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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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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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Expert speaks on impact of COVID-19 on Nigerian insurance industry, role of digitalisation

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Stanbic IBTC Insurance
Chief Executive, Stanbic IBTC Insurance Brokers, Anselem Igbo

The insurance landscape in Nigeria has tremendously evolved and this growth can be attributed to certain policies introduced to the industry.

Contributions from the government and governing bodies, which were positively welcomed by the masses, have turned out to be impressive over the years.

Commendably, the rising rate of response of Nigerians to insurance and insurance policies is responsible for the increased level of awareness of insurance, especially in the corporate world. Many institutions now realise the need for insurance cover on their assets and personnel, as well as motor insurance and group life policies.

In a recent interview, Anselem Igbo, Chief Executive, Stanbic IBTC Insurance Brokers Limited, noted that the implementation of compulsory insurance by the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) is a crucial driver for increased insurance acceptance in the country.

He said: “First, the regulator is part of the Federal Government. Looking back at the last two decades, insurance has gained more acceptance, as the efforts of NAICOM and other industry players have yielded some results. The industry is now able to attract professionals from all fields of life. Individuals of different professions like medical doctors, lawyers, engineers, accountants, among others, have become a part of the industry and they all contribute their different ideas on how to move the industry forward.”

Igbo noted that the industry had achieved much, with the prompt payment of genuine claims by insurance companies, which has led to increased trust in insurance products.

He said: “Even in this pandemic, and despite the lockdown, most insurance companies have performed creditably well by paying the genuine claims, once they are fully documented. However, there is a continuous need to grow the market to attract the younger generation. With current digitalisation, the purchase of personal lines insurance will become seamless and more attractive to the younger, active and working population.”

When asked about digitalisation, Igbo stated that it had positively impacted the insurance landscape.

He said: “Insurance companies now have their motor insurance automated for third party motor insurance cover. For comprehensive protection, there are still some processes before full confirmation of cover can be granted. It is certain that in the no-distant future, some class of motor insurance claims will be fully automated and claims paid seamlessly. Also, frontline insurance companies are putting in efforts towards digitalisation. They have launched one form of App or the other, to deepen digitalisation in the industry. Technology is expensive, no doubt, but if the sector can pool resources together and have shared services where necessary, the cost of digitalisation will reduce significantly.”

According to Igbo, the industry players can take charge to propel the industry by delivering efficient services and investing in technology to drive the business, without aimlessly waiting for the government to change the narrative.

“All that is needed from the government and the regulator will only be an enabling environment to amend the laws and give necessary approval for digitalisation. The COVID-19 experience has proven that innovation is greatly needed in the insurance industry,” Igbo affirmed.

At these uncertain times, the insurance industry, as well as many others, have faced a bit of downtime for operations that excluded digitalisation.

The COVID-19 pandemic was unprecedented and minimal preparation was made for it. Sadly, it has in one way or the other affected several businesses and industries, insurance inclusive.

One limitation was that the level of insurance transactions slowed down for most insurance companies while working remotely. Although little impact was felt on the generation of policy documents, the significant fall in service was in the delivery of hard copy documents. This is because the insurance service is mostly reliant on courier services, which were partially grounded during the lockdown, except for essential deliveries.

For significant risks that involve coinsurance from multiple companies, all of the coinsurers’ signatures on policy documents and endorsements are needed. However, this has been very difficult to effect during this period, as the social distancing guidelines did not encourage bringing multiple insurers together.

During the total lockdown, a few insurers announced a possible ‘give-back’ for Personal Motor Insurance, although this was limited to the Comprehensive Insurance only. The give back could be as much as a one-month premium rebate to the policyholders who were constrained to ground their vehicles in strict compliance with the lockdown order.

The insurance industry has immensely contributed positively to the Nigerian economy, even in these difficult times. Unfortunately, there is currently no known ‘pandemic insurance’ sold in Nigeria. It is certainly not common, although there have been sufficient events in the past that should have warned businesses that the day of COVID-19, and its likes, could come.

The foremost insurance brokers Chief Executive suggested that the pandemic insurance, along with a business interruption insurance, may help cushion the effects of a pandemic.

In his words: “An insurer interested in transacting this product only needs to show evidence of an adequate reinsurance arrangement and the satisfaction of other conditions as may be required from time to time. Considering the increase in fraudulent activities and event cancellations as a result of the pandemic, insurance brokers should encourage their clients to take up cybercrime and event cancellation policies.”

Every challenge presents its opportunities. The Covid-19 pandemic is no different. Recently, the industry regulator – NAICOM – examined the impact of the pandemic on insurance companies and came up with new guidelines on the recapitalisation for the industry.

This includes a more reduced recapitalisation limit to be met by 31 December 2020, which was the initially advised date. However, the companies will still be required to achieve full recapitalisation, but at a later date in Q3, 2021.

The Commissioner, NAICOM, Mr Sunday Thomas, also said that there would be a change in regulation post-COVID-19.

According to him, the Commission will also make the consolidation initiative focus on designing products that are more suitable for such unexpected events.

In NAICOM’s views, the pandemic has thrown up challenges which, if embraced by the operators, would reposition the industry for better growth and development. There is also a waiver on the deadlines for some regulatory reports, with NAICOM giving some months of extension.

In the area of distribution, direct marketing staff and some insurance brokerage firms who rely heavily on physical contact for selling of insurance were deeply impacted by the pandemic.

This mode of marketing is not allowed by some insurance brokers and clients who do not encourage visits.

There is every possibility of repurposing some business development staff who rely on physical contact marketing. Another impact of COVID-19 is that there is an increased uptake in life insurance policies for both corporate and personal lines.

Igbo concluded that the speedy growth of the insurance landscape in Nigeria is largely dependent on the expansion of technology.

Digitalisation must be embraced to build better and faster solutions that will attract and cater to the insurance needs of the masses.

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