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According to Nigeria Communications Week Enhancing Financial Innovation & Access (EFInA),a financial sector development organization has announced the release of an Innovation Grant in the sum of $2,000,000 (Two million US Dollars only), to support First City Monument Bank (FCMB) Limited with its “Group Lending and Agency Banking” project, which provides financial services and access to credit facilities for the financially excluded population.

FCMB Group Lending project is a digitized credit and savings solution, which facilitates instant account opening with debit card issuance for online real time transactions, driven by Point of Sale (POS) and mobile devices.

The EFInA Innovation Grant will enable FCMB extend facilities to prospective customers in twelve states –Bauchi, Kaduna,Sokoto, Niger, Kwara, Lagos, Oyo, Ogun, AkwaIbom, Rivers, Cross River and Abia States.

Speaking on the Grant, Chidinma Lawanson, chief executive officer of EFInA, stated that, “According to the EFInA Access to Financial Services in Nigeria 2014 survey, 42.7% of the total female population is financially excluded, compared to 35.8% of the total male population. To this effect,the FCMB Group Lending project seeks to drive financial inclusion by targeting low-income women and microbusiness owners directly through digital financial services and agent banking.”

Furthermore, she said, “The project is estimated to impact over 200,000customers, by providing them with a minimum loan of N30,000 per beneficiary, including a compulsory savings element of the loan which will deepen the savings culture among the financially excluded population. In line with EFInA’s focus to increase access to financial products and services to the low income population, especially women, the project is also designed to empower women by recruiting female agents in the target communities”.

According to Ladi Balogun, group managing director/CEO of First City Monument Bank (FCMB), “Through this project, the low income population will be provided with access to credit, savings and other value added services such as funds transfers and bill payments. The Group lending project will drive financial inclusion by increasing access to financial products and bring financial services closer to the unbanked adult population: through the deployment of agents in communities without financial service providers”.

“The project will be highly driven by technology to create a distinct offering from other existing micro lending businesses. The automation of loan processing, disbursement and repayment via POS/Mobile solutions will ensure an efficient and swift loan disbursement and collection process”. He added.

Through this innovation grant, EFInA aims to promote financial inclusion through market development by enabling provision of appropriate financial products and services at an affordable price to micro business owners and those who are currently financially excluded.

Enhancing Financial Innovation & Access (EFInA)is a financial sector development organisation that promotes financial inclusion in Nigeria. Established in late 2007, EFInA’smission is to make the Nigerian financial system work better especially for the poor.EFInA achieves its mission through four pillars; Research, Innovation Fund, Advocacy and Capacity Building. EFInA is funded by the UK Department for International Development (DFID) and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

 

Kenneth Omeruo
Omeruo Ndukaku Kenneth is an Innovation Management expert,the CEO of Emerging Media,a new media company.He is a member of ISPIM - International Society for Professional Innovation Management and the US-Africa chamber of Commerce.He is the Founder of TechTrends Nigeria Blog,Nigeria Innovation Summit and the African Innovation Academy.Kenneth is a highly sought-after Internet Marketing Consultant who has through his seminars, articles, training and consulting, helped many organizations, Individuals, Businesses maximize the Internet for business purposes.Kenneth has also being featured as a guest on the TV show TODAY ON STV Nigeria and on Bloomberg Africa TV.He is the author of the best –selling Internet Book: How To Create Unlimited Internet Wealth. He is a syndicated columnist with the following Newspapers in Nigeria: Daily Independent, Financial Standard, PUNCH, BusinessDay, and Sun.Kenneth organises the EduNet Conference for Universities in Nigeria. Kenneth is a member of Institute of Software Practitioners of Nigeria( ISPON ) Roundtable For Capacity Development in Nigeria,member pre-selection committee for Nigeria at the UN World Summit Awards,a Panelist for Youth Enterprise With Innovation in Nigeria(YouWIN)-a Federal government initiative created by the ministry of finance,supported by ministries of Communications Technology,Youth Development,Worldbank and DFID. A 2013 Judge at the Google Cloud Developers Challenge for Sub Saharan Africa.He has been a contributing editor of Nigeria Communications Week,Africa Telecom and IT Business Magazine,ICT Today magazine,M2 magazine.Kenneth has been invited to the Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation Forum, Oracle Open World Conference USA, Oracle Cloud World Dubai, and GITEX Dubai. He now lives in New York with his family and presently working on an Open Innovation project for Nigeria. You can contact Kenneth through email: (kenneth (at)techtrendsng.com) Facebook:www.facebook.com/Kenneth.omeruo On Twitter:www.twitter.com/kennethomeruo Skpe:Kenneth.Omeruo

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