Ecobank Transnational Incorporated is set to boost investment in its Digital platforms and agency network to continue to be the preferred choice for banking services to customers.
This was disclosed by the Group Chief Executive Officer, Ecobank Transnational Incorporated, Mr. Ade Ayeyemi, in an interview with Nairametrics.
According to Ayeyemi, the bank is determined to use agency network and digital platforms as means of being able to distribute banking services to people. To him, these are now going to continue to be the preferred method of delivering banking services to people as the brand go forward into the future.
He said, “Those are the things that informed our decision, and some of these branches were not profitable. Some of them were weak and that was the basis on which we made the decision to close those branches and merge their activities with some other branches that are existing in agreement with the Central Bank of Nigeria.”
On the amount the financial institution has spent on COVID-19 palliatives, Ayeyemi disclosed that it gave over $3 million in form of donations in the countries where it does business.
“We also understood that one thing is to have palliatives, the other is to make sure that the people are aware of what they need to do to be able to avoid catching COVID-19 in terms of radio, television and other awareness programme.
“Again, we participated in ensuring that, that is done, to be able to engage people to make sure they don’t contract COVID-19. The third thing was stepping back and working with our client because in the developed world the government was able to provide money to the corporations, the government was able to follow up, where people get paid for sitting at home.”
In some parts of the continent where the government couldn’t pay people for staying at home, je explained that Ecobank had to work with its clients to restructure their facilities so that they don’t have to pay and then they can support their staff.
“We also ensure that we work with the African Union around the concept of micro, small and medium scale enterprises (MSMEs), where we usually put a lot of money aside to be able to support MSMEs across the continent. And we actually did training in these countries grooming a lot of people that will be able to have access to, not just finances but access to organisational structure and training.
“So all of those things were things we felt we needed to do as a player in the continent. And of course some of our governments wanted to put money in the hand of the poor and they didn’t want to give cash to them because cash became vehicle of transmission and we were able to quickly create accounts for those people and be able to transmit money into those systems,” he added.
On the opportunities available for the bank in the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) initiative, which is to take off in January 2021, he explained that the bank has positioned itself as one of the key supporters of the idea.
He said, “So, because of our Pan-African presence, we have been discussing with the governments and our customers to start to take another look at their businesses and understand that the market is bigger than what it used to be before.
“So, if your job in Aba is to manufacture bags for the Nigerian market, if you now start thinking about, how you can expand your manufacturing capacity to be able to export across West Africa and also other African countries not just looking at Nigeria as market alone.
“And as you change your demand forecast, then you need to now improve your capacity to produce and that will mean importing new machinery, which will mean expanding your manufacturing base and being able to develop the market and hire people.”