As part of efforts to support the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) target of reducing the number of unbanked population, Heritage Bank Plc has keyed into the financial inclusion and promote economic growth.
CBN has mandated all banks in line with the 2020 financial inclusion target, to have a nationwide account opening week.
The account opening week is an initiative of the CBN, Bankers’ Committee and other stakeholders to provide opportunities for financially excluded Nigerians and MSME operators to open accounts with formal financial institutions.
According to a statement from Heritage Bank, the overall aim is to reduce the current 36.8per cent financially excluded to 20 per cent and stimulate economic growth.
“Towards this developments, Heritage Bank strategically deployed its technology and large number of staff to reach the large populace who do not have bank accounts in selected states were sensitised and mobilised to designated centres in rural areas, where they opened their personal accounts,” the statement added.
Speaking on the initiative, the MD/CEO of the bank, Ifie Sekibo stated that Heritage Bank has been at the forefront and continues to give support efforts to reduce the exclusion rate to 20 per cent by 2020, create jobs, reduce poverty and improve the welfare of the people.
According to him, the bank succeeded in opening more than 2, 000 bank accounts in Kano, Ebonyi, Nasarawa, Gombe, Bayelsa and Ondo.
Sekibo said the bank has also introduced agent banking partners.
He pointed out that the bank has brought on board over 10,000 agent partners since the commencement and launch of ‘corner shop’, which lends credibility to the consistency of the service and how it is changing lives and empowering Nigerians across the country.
“At this steady growth rate of approximately 17.5 percent new agent per month, one can say that hitting the long term vision of 100,000 active agents in five years is well within reach,” the statement added.
However, Sekibo explained that financially excluded persons constitute a gap in the financial system, adding that there was no way to create a perfect economy except all these people are brought on board.
“Another issue is that the older generation seem to be averse to technology because they have not been exposed to it and the fear of fraud,” he also said, but assured that the CBN and the banks would continue to improve its technology space