In recent times, fintech companies have been playing a key role in helping to ease daily life struggles by providing convenience for customers. For Raven Bank, it is about making banking easier for everyone through its efficient, affordable and most importantly, fast financial services provided to its community.
Since starting operation in April 2021, the digital bank, which adopts a community-centric approach, claims it has grown its members to surpass 350,000 – and still counting.
In this interview with Nairametrics, Jude Okorharen, the chief marketing officer, Raven Bank explained how he and his team of professionals in the financial industry are helping to build a community that takes care of more than just the regular banking business. Excerpts
Tell us about Raven Bank
RavenBank is a digital bank that provides fast, efficient and affordable financial services to thousands of Nigerians from the comfort of their homes to be able to bank with us and get the best services ever. One of the key things we sell is speed – Raven is fast.
News continues after this ad
Some of the services we provide include overdraft for businesses and SMEs, flexible savings platform, the Raven POS for businesses, virtual dollar cards for making payments, virtual banking for individuals and SMEs, bills payment options (airtime and data recharge, electricity and cable TV subscriptions e.g., DStv, GOtv etc.), the payment and collection API for startups.
What makes you different from others?
News continues after this ad
In addition to being fast, Raven has a centralized banking system that makes banking easier for customers. We are community-centric and this means we care for our customers’ needs. A lot of financial organizations are good in their own way. The thing about Raven is that the bank is a family and we are building a system whereby we take care of our people more than just the regular banking business that involves deposit, transfer, savings and all.
Basically, Raven is not just about us building different products, everybody in Raven is building Raven together including our customers. The unique thing about Raven is more of the human factor (the people) – the community itself – than the products.
We have better products that are still in the pipeline and we will start launching them out soon, but the main ideology about Raven is not on the product we offer, rather it is about the community and how we care for everyone in the Raven community. That is why our byline is “The People’s Bank of Africa”.
What is the Raven Millionaire Program and who can actually apply?
The Raven Millionaire Program (RMP) is a project that is organized by Raven Bank. We are in partnership with MoneyAfrica on this project and it is targeted at individuals with little income. We go to the rural area and select people whose source of livelihood is really low and interview them. After a series of stages, a winner emerges.
Our most recent winner is Emmanuel Phillip from Ajegunle. So, we are done with that area and we are going out to another and we plan to take RMP outside of Lagos to the entire country as we move.
How often do you conduct the RMP and who can apply?
We usually have it at intervals; in a space of two to three months within a year and that is a minimum of 4 times and maximum of 6 times in a year.
It is not an application process; when we go to a particular location we do our survey, we ask questions around and look out for how well these candidates can do in their business or boost their skills to yield good results for their kind of business. We also follow up with the winners and that is why we do the financial training; we let them know how best they can utilize their monies and manage them properly in line with their business or skill.
For instance, Emmanuel, the recent winner, has a poultry business. He is a graduate but couldn’t get a job after 4 years. He eventually ventured into the poultry business because of his interest in it and we saw how he was managing the birds properly. He also informed us about how he has been growing the business, how he started with a few birds and what he plans to build when he gets more money.
There are many people to give funds to but there has to be something really unique or industrious about the particular low-income earner or the group of people we are selecting at every point in time.
At the moment, we are starting from Nigeria, we serve Nigerians within the country and Nigerians in diaspora. Yes, we have a lot of Nigerians in the U.S, U.K, Germany, South Africa, Ghana, France, Asia, Vietnam and other parts of the world but we are starting in Nigeria and in a few years from now, we will expand into other African countries and also to Africans outside the continent. We aim to be the fastest and easiest digital bank powering over 50 million African individuals and businesses across the globe.
What is your five to ten years projection plan?
We currently have over 350,000 customers, but in 3 to 4 years from now, we aim to reach over 4 million customers in Nigeria. Similarly, we are looking to becoming the fastest and easiest digital bank powering 50 million Africans (individual and businesses) across the globe within the next 5 to 10 years.
We aim at banking the majority of the population – Gen Zs and Millennials within the age of 15-45 as our primary target market.
We see a future whereby we can improve on the current system of banking and financial institutions, in general, using technology, making our services easier, faster and more convenient than the current state.
With Inflation currently above 20% What is the best investment to hedge against inflation at this moment?
I will recommend the fixed savings with RavenBank. We have a savings feature that allows you to earn 15% interest on your savings per annum. With time, we will be rolling out the dollar savings as well and this would also be of help.
But if you are looking to earn more than 20% per annum, the regular banking system wouldn’t give you that. You can also go into venture capitalism of small businesses, look out for more profitable businesses and other reasonable investments after doing your due diligence.
What are the challenges you face as a business?
At some point, we get services from different organizations and sometimes the services they deliver are not as fast as you want them to be and that reduces the speed of some operational processes. However, we do have alternative solutions and immediate resolutions in managing such concerns.
How do you intend to scale amid the rising competition amongst Fintechs?
In as much as there are competitors, that is not our focus. What we are very much interested in is growing our community, getting to know them and their businesses, giving them their needs and wants and becoming the go-to platform for everyone in our community.
Once we have given them the services irrespective of the numbers, then we can scale up, which we have given to them so that when we are growing large, we are sure that we are creating value to everyone in the Raven community.