Ecobank Nigeria has restated its commitment to the Agricultural sector and is supporting over 70,000 farmers with special loans to increase their capacity and yields during this planting season.
This is one of the bank’s initiatives to promote entrepreneurship in the sector and is in support of the Central Bank of Nigeria’s Anchor Borrowers programmes for the 2020 wet season with the Maize Growers, Processors and Marketers Association of Nigeria (MAGPAMAN).
Head, Agribusiness, Ecobank Nigeria, Mojisola Oguntoyinbo, announced this in Lagos while responding to media enquiries on the participation of the bank in the CBN scheme. According to her, the initiative spreads across the thirty-six states of the Federation and is one of the several concerted efforts on the part of the bank to support the government to create an ecosystem that gives small holder farmers access to funding and the required support to increase food production in the country. She also noted that the scheme is designed to connect small holder farmers with processors and off takers within the agriculture value chain.
“We are creating opportunities in the Agric sector that will help many small holder farmers expand their business and become worthy employers of labour by adopting modern farming techniques for the betterment of our economy. We are in strategic partnership with NIRSAL and some other developmental institutions to achieve our purpose. We are also partnering the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in all its intervention schemes and programmes aimed at developing the sector. Our relationships are generating positive activities across the entire Agric value chain.”
This comes on the heels of the bank’s widely acclaimed Agri-business summit with key stakeholders, held earlier in the year.
Ecobank has been actively leveraging entrepreneurship as a strategy to tackle poverty and growing unemployment, through the creation of relevant platforms. One of such platforms is the Ecobank Xpress Point, the bank’s Agency Banking proposition which enables Agents carry out financial transactions on behalf of Ecobank and earn commission on transactions processed.
Thousands of Nigerians have taken advantage of this opportunity to become Xpress Point agents and have in turn, employed several others, thereby improving financial inclusion and creating employment opportunities. Xpress Points are in various neighbourhoods across the country and are well positioned to facilitate financial transactions in the communities which they serve.
Ecobank has extended its zero-charge fee for digital money transfers below N5,000 till the end of September this year. In addition to the free USSD session fee currently enjoyed by Ecobank customers, users of Ecobank Mobile, Ecobank Online, USSD – Ecobank *326# can continue to enjoy zero fee charge for digital money transfers below N5,000. New customers can also benefit from this by opening an Xpress account from the comfort of their homes by simply dialling *326#.
The zero charge for mobile money transfers by Ecobank commenced in March as part of the bank’s corporate action to cushion the rising spread of Coronavirus. The decision to extend the zero-charge policy is hinged on the bank’s drive to continuously encourage citizens to adopt digital banking particularly with the ongoing social distancing campaign targeted to check the spread of COVID-19.
According to Olukorede Demola-Adeniyi, Head, Consumer Banking, Ecobank Nigeria, “As a bank, our priority is people’s wellbeing. We place great emphasis on rewarding and identifying with our customers and citizens of Nigeria especially at a time like this. We are determined to ensure that the impact of the pandemic is minimal on citizens. We encourage our customers to utilize our digital self-service solutions including Ecobank mobile app, Ecobank Online, EcobankPay, Ecobank Omniplus, Omnilite and the rapid transfer app; where they can easily access their bank accounts, make payments, transfer funds, process salaries and carry out ancillary banking transactions from the comfort of their home and offices without having to visit the branches”.
She further stated that, “At Ecobank, we are always finding ways to improve our customer experience digitally, which is why I encourage our customers to upgrade to the new Ecobank mobile app 4.0. Customers can carry out banking transactions and enjoy some of the new features that the app provides, such as the ability to send money via email or SMS and of course, take advantage of the zero charge on money transfers below N5,000”.
She added that the bank was also supporting over 50,000 farmers across the country to grow maize, under the CBN Anchor Borrowers program with the Maize Growers, Processors and Marketers Association of Nigeria (MAGPAMAN).