A new pact between Ecobank Nigeria Plc and Accion Microfinance Bank Limited, aims at revving up remittances to Nigeria, which was about $20.8 billion in 2015 and provide more financial inclusion to Nigerians, particularly the Small and Medium scale Enterprises (SMEs).
This was disclosed on Monday, at the announcement of the pact by Deputy Managing Director, Ecobank, Tony Okpanachi, which saw Ecobank extend Western Union money transfer to the microfinance bank.
He was optimistic that the development would complement the Central Bank of Nigeria’s agenda on financial inclusion as well as increase volume of remittances to the country.
The decision is expected to ease the plight of SMEs, particularly with regard to financing by giving them access to a one-stop banking service.
Okpanachi, who believed that the country’s economic shortfall is paving the way for increased remittances, said the deal is a proof of what the bank is doing to extend financial services to individuals.
He said: “Recession usually attract fund. Again the exchange rate makes it attractive to send money to Nigeria. So the volume is on the increase and we are hopeful that the volume would be more than last year’s and we look forward to Accion to boost the volume.”
He said the relationship with the microfinance bank remained a way to strengthen its commercial footprint, adding that Ecobank would partner with other smaller banks that meet its requirements as it explores opportunities.
The Managing Director of Accion, Bunmi Lawson, said the partnership would provide value added service to the bank’s customers. Lawson said: “For Accion, this is a major milestone in the history of our bank, and is a catalyst to extending our frontiers in the financial inclusion drive to reach more micro entrepreneurs and low income earners, to ensure that they have a brighter future.”
She said the bank, which currently boasts of a total asset base of N7.4 billion is well positioned to ease transaction challenges.
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