L-R: Mr. Mohammed Edewor, Board Member 9PSB; Mr. Asega Aliga Board Member 9PSB; His Highness Emir of Bichi, Alhaji Nasir Ado Bayero and Branka Mracajac, CEO 9PSB at the launch of 9 Payment Service Bank (9PSB) in Lagos State recently.
The CEO of 9PSB, Branka Mracajac said the goal of 9PSB to drive financial innovation, especially among the youth and women across Nigeria.
She said the key mitigating strategy that would aid 9PSB in fulfilling the financial inclusion mandate of the Central Bank of Nigeria is by offering compelling products, seamless execution and excellent customer service.
“Financial innovation plays a unique role in fostering sustainable and equitable growth primarily among the unbanked and underbanked within the rural areas in Nigeria, and I am very optimistic that 9PSB will drive financial innovation, especially among the youth and women across Nigeria. This is our goal at 9PSB. It is also why we are here. It is the difference we are committed to making in the Nigerian financial sector,” she said.
While acknowledging the impact of infrastructure deficit and geographical coverage limitations on progress made so far towards achieving financial inclusion in Nigeria, Branka said that the key mitigating strategy that 9PSB is bringing to the table is to create synergies between agent banking as an important driver of financial inclusion and a superior product mix.
Explaining further, Branka said, “9PSB will deploy a wide distribution network that will serve as a channel for financial education for rural and low-income consumers. This will enable them to conduct basic banking services like cash-in and cash-out transactions.”
The Nigerian banking sector has been set on a new innovative course with the launch of a digital lifestyle bank, 9 Payment Service Bank (9PSB), the first of its kind in the financial industry.
Established with the aim of furthering financial inclusion in the country and providing financial services to Nigerians, who were previously excluded, the entrance of 9PSB as a digital lifestyle bank is designed to address critical challenges facing bank customers.
Speaking at a panel discussion at the launch of 9PSB, seasoned Fintech analysts and journalist such as Ashley Immanuel, Tunji Andrews, Tracia Ikponmwonba and Adejuwon Soyinka, offered suggestion that could bolster financial literacy and inclusion in rural and urban areas of Nigeria. The theme of the panel discussion was “Examining the challenges facing Nigerian banks and payment industry and how 9PSB can revolutionize the financial sector.”
9 Payment Service Bank (9PSB) in its uniqueness will leverage on its existing mobile and digital channels, offering a first of its kind wide network of agents as well as web and digital applications and physical structures to provide financial consumers with an experience novel to the Nigerian populace.
In his goodwill message at the event, Chairman Board of Directors, EMTS, parent company of 9PSB, HRH, Alhaji Nasiru Ado Bayero, stated that the launch of 9PSB is the beginning of an exciting chapter in the company’s growth agenda.
“We see 9PSB as yet another opportunity to serve 59 million unbanked adults through the deployment of financial services that will leverage on top mobile technology and distribution network to support the financial inclusion efforts of the Federal Government,” he said.
Nigerian Banks Lift USSD Restriction As MTN Reverts Back To 4.5% Commission
- Extends Partnership with Fintechs
MTN Nigeria, commercial banks and aggregators have agreed to revert back to the old commission formula for airtime vending on unstructured supplementary service data (USSD) and banking app channels.
The three parties have reverted back to the old 4.5 per cent commission charged for airtime vending through USSD and other banking channels. They reached for each other jugular over an impromptu reduction in the commission rate from 4.5 per cent to 2.5 per cent which too k effect on Thursday April 1, 2021.
At virtual meeting held yesterday by the chief executive officer of MTN Nigeria, Mr. Karl Toriola; the group CEO of Access Bank Plc, Mr. Herbert Wigwe who is also the chairman of the Body of Bank CEOs in Nigeria; Group CEO of Guaranty Trust Bank Plc, Mr. Segun Agbaje as well as MTN Nigeria’s chief financial officer, Modupe Kadri, they agreed to revert back to status quo ante of 4.5 per cent commission on USSD airtime.
MTN CEO, Toriola and addressed to Wigwe which was a follow-up on the virtual stated that, “In an attempt to resolve the current USSD impasse, given the intervention of our regulators, we hereby agree that the banks revert back to the status quo of 4.5 per cent commission.
“However, the banks and MTN Nigeria Plc shall sit to agree on various options that will result in the costs on 6th of April 2021.” The letter was copied to the Executive Vice Chairman/CEO of the NCC.
Elaborating further, he said in another statement that “the document was issued by me to the banks on the specific intervention of the CBN Governor and the Minister for Communications and Digital Economy. MTN’s intention has always been geared towards business optimization to the benefit of our customers and indeed the country.
“This is evidenced by the fact that through the USSD imbroglio, we never denied access to our customers. In the current case, customers have been denied access to services by the banks despite having monies in their accounts to purchase those services. MTN will naturally do all it can to minimise customer pain. It is not just about revenue for us.
“The good of our customers influence every decision we take. The CBN Governor’s intervention is in line with our core values. We acceded to his request and that of our Minister. We will continue to live our values that ‘everyone deserves the benefits of a modern connected life,” he concluded.
Meanwhile, the operator with over 70 million subscribers said it will continue to engage Fintechs to vend airtime. According to Funso Aina, Snr. Manager, External Relations, MTN, the links to access the various alternative platforms include:
1. MTN On Demand is on *904# and also via https://mtnondemand.flutterwave.com;
2. Barter By Flutter Wave is an app that can be downloaded here: http://tosto.re/getbarter;
3. Jumia Pay (app);
4. OPay (app);
5. MTN Xtratime airtime loans (*606#);
6. Carbon (app);
7. Kuda (app);
8. BillsnPay (web https://www.billsnpay.com/. They also have an app);
9. myMTN Web http://mymtn.com.ng;
10. Momo agent *223#
The Apps can be downloaded from the Playstore and the Appstore.
Nigerian Banks Restrict USSD Transaction On MTN Over Commission
Nigerian banks have restricted transactions on USSD channels with Nigeria’s biggest mobile network operator, MTN Nigeria over a dispute on vending commission rate.
This restriction which took effect on April 1, 2021 was a result of the reduction of commission accruable to telecommunication Value Added Services (VAS) Aggregators and banks from 3.5 per cent to 2.5 per cent.
The aggregators alleged that had on March 31 informed them about the reduction in the commission earned by them which took effect the following day. Both the aggregators and the banks were uncomfortable with the new rate and the banks decided to restrict USSD channel transactions with MTN Nigeria to show their annoyance.
This new dimension is a dent on the recent resolution by both the telecommunications and banking industry regulators, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to resolve the USSD dispute which has lingered since 2019.
One of the aggregators alleged that MTN was bent on playing a dominant role in the digital financial services subsector in Nigeria and would do anything to limit the influence of the banks.
Reaction to the development, a telecom industry source who pleaded anonymity as he was not authorised to speak on the matter informed SiliconNigeria that “The overnight suspension of airtime sales by some of the banks was not restricted to USSD channels alone, but includes airtime purchases through all banking channels – bank apps, bank USSD codes, even debit cards.”
Another source, said “The current dispute by the banks and the telecom industry is as a result of the debt of N42 billion owed telecom operators by banks. They want to surreptitiously factor it into a new price regime so that customers will unknowingly help them pay what they had already billed them. Of course, we refused, which is why they are fighting us now. USSD has not been cut by MTN.”
According to him, banks did not send a formal communication to customers or to MTN before taking this action. With their action, the banks are denying customers from accessing their money to make legitimate purchases/transactions. The banks are willing to cut off services to customers in order to protect profits.”
In the last four years, the banks have made:
Bank Turnover Bank/ Earnings:
2017 – N148b/N8b 5.5%;
2018 – N240b/N13b 5.5%;
2019 – N320b/N14b 4.5%;
2020 – N470b/N18b 4%;
2021 – Projected N652b/N20b 4% Q1 & 2.5% YE.
The NCC had in 2018 carried out the licensing of Value Added Services (VAS) Aggregators in the bid to improve the service delivery framework and improve consumer satisfaction on value-added services. The framework was to ensure that telecom subscribers truly get added value when they sign up for such services, and that all stakeholders along the value chain are treated equitably so that the industry can grow.
The Commission had licenced about 233 registered operators in the VAS segment of the telecoms industry. It allocated Short Codes to the 233 VAS licencees for the provision of different VAS services which has immensely enhanced service delivery in the Nigerian telecom and financial services industries.
For instances, you can now recharge your mobile phone line, pay utility bills, make mobile Payments through VAS platforms. VAS has thus made life simple, contributed to the promotion of the financial inclusion policy of the government and facilitated the creation of wealth for many Nigerians.
According to the Executive commissioner, technical services, NCC, Engr. Ubale Maska, ““Anything outside your telephone call or text message we consider it as VAS. It is good for the industry because it has brought a lot of convenience.For instance, you can sit down and transfer money to any account with short codes without going to the bank to queue.”
Inlaks, First Bank Strengthen Ties as Bank Visits Technical Resource Centre
Inlaks, a foremost systems integrator specialized in the deployment of dynamic ICT Infrastructure solutions in Sub-Saharan Africa in its commitment to providing innovative products that will keep its customers at the forefront of novel banking operations recently hosted executives and some senior managers from First Bank of Nigeria PLC.
Its Executive Director, Infrastructure Business, Tope Dare, who spoke during the visit of the bank to the Inlaks Technical Resource Centre in Ikeja, Lagos, reiterated Inlaks’s commitment towards ultimately satisfying the bank by co-innovating value-adding financial services solutions with First Bank of Nigeria.
The courtesy visit is aimed at strengthening ties between Inlaks and First Bank which is one of Africa’s most formidable banking institutions ended in further agreements to co-create and launch world-class value-adding technology-driven solutions that will further enhance the services received by First Bank Customers across the continent.
Inlaks has heavily invested in building capacity to support FBN and other banks in Nigeria, Ghana, and some other selectAfrican countries with over 250 fintech, embedded systems, and renewable energy engineers servicing the bank across the continent. As of year-end, 2020 Inlaks had an ATM market share of 38% with over 8,200 Hyosung installed in both commercial and Micro Finance Banks (MFBs), FBN has 1500 Hyosung ATMs across Nigeria in over 650 business offices.
Inlaks Technical Resource Centre houses the Research and Development arm of the business and doubles as the hub for service delivery which includes a state-of-the-art call center, an ISO standard repair workshop, and a warehouse. This allows Inlaks to provide lighting fast services to all its partner financial institutions. The Technical resource center is the hub for is replicated at Abuja, Enugu, Ibadan, and Kano with more to be launched in 2021.
Top representatives from the First bank include Callistus Obetta, Group Executive, Technology & Services; Ayodeji Aina, Head Enterprise Innovation Unit; Abimbola Ibikunle Aina, Head, Branch Experience Management; Lande Atere, Group Head Branch Operations & Services,and Adewale Salami, Chief Technology Officer.
Speaking during the visit, the Group Executive, Technology & Services, Callistus Obetta, thanked the Inlaks team for being a trusted advisor, noting that First Bank is proud to be associated with the Inlaks brand in its drive to providing excellent customer services through its broad infrastructure solutions estate, a testament of Inlaks innovative product offerings.
Inlaks currently holds 40.9% of the industry market share for Datacenter build and maintenance, 100% for Fast Track ATMs, 65% for solar-powered mobile branch, and 100% for self-service kiosk banking services in Sub-Saharan Africa.
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