Financial inclusion: Making millionaires of savers

Banks are making inroads into the financial services markets with products that encourage customers to save and win millions in gift and cash prizes. COLLINS NWEZE looks at the creativity lenders are bringing to the marketplace and how it has triggered a new push to achieve Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN’s) financial inclusion plan and making millionaires of savers, especially at the grassroots.

Call it rewarding loyal customers, or new form of wooing customers, banks have now found a new ground to bring more customers into their deposit net. The reward schemes, coming in the form of promos, are equally turning lucky and loyal customers to instant millionaires.

The winners are getting cash prizes, foreign trips, houses, and gift items via promos that are fast defining the next level of competition.

Fidelity Bank, Access Bank, First City Monument Bank (FCMB), and United Bank for Africa (UBA) are many of the lenders that are giving out millions of naira, houses, and other gift prizes to their lucky customers.

Financial pundits said such reward schemes could also promote the CBN’s financial inclusion drive and make banking more interesting for customers.

The CBN has, therefore, urged banks to be innovative to increase their share of the global markets. According to the apex bank, competition is getting keener in the markets, and only banks that are innovative and creative will remain relevant.

Against this backdrop, Fidelity Bank Plc last week announced the take-off of its “Get Alert In Millions (GAIM) Season 4” promo during which N120 million will be won.

The GAIM promo is expected to run till April 2020, a duration of six months.

Speaking at a press conference heralding the commencement of the promo in Lagos, the bank’s Managing Director/CEO, Nnamdi Okonkwo, said the campaign is the ninth in the series of savings promos organised by the bank in the last 12 years to reward its customers.

Okonkwo, who was represented by the Executive Director, Shared Services & Products (EDSS&P), Chijioke Ugochukwu, pointed out that the campaign seeks to reward customers for their loyalty and patronage. While the savings promo is targeted at a cross section of customers, Okonkwo noted that the bank apart from using traditional channels, will utilise digital platforms, such as its Quick Response (QR) code and Virtual Assistant, to reach unserved areas.

Giving insight into the rationale behind organising this initiative, Okonkwo noted that savings promo remained an integral part of the bank.

He asserted that the promo was focused on reaching out to the unbanked population across the nation. “We embark on campaigns like this to drive financial inclusion in line with the financial inclusion strategy of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). This savings promo allows us to take banking services to the nooks and cranny of Nigeria.

“It also gives us an opportunity to promote a savings culture, which is critical to building up investible funds for individuals and companies and a key component of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth,” she added. Stating that the lender remained on course to achieve its strategic objective of becoming a tier one Bank by 2022, the managing director explained that building a robust and solid saving volumes for the institution was a critical pillar to attaining the aforementioned target.”

Fidelity Bank said the new promo will focus more on digital banking as customers will be boarded through the lender’s digital platforms, and get airtime rewards aside the cash prizes.

There will be two categories of draws, monthly and bi-monthly draws. The monthly draws will see 70 customers winning N82 million while the bi-monthly draw will see six customers winning N18 million; this translates to N3 million per customer.

The grand prize will see two customers winning N10 million each while 200 other winners will emerge with inclusive consolation prizes, such as fridges, generators and television sets.

The bank had also in May, this year given out N110 million cash prizes and 108 consolation prizes to 167 winners in its ‘Get Alert in Millions’ (GAIM) promo season-3. The bank has used the promo to create 77 millionaires since last October, when it began the exercise.

Okonkwo said: “Based on our monthly and bi-monthly draws conducted,152 winners had emerged and we had given out N79 million before now and several consolation prizes. We had also given out airtime of N5.261 million and 3, 803 customers to be precise benefited from this instant rewards and today in this final draw, we shall be giving out N31 million to 15 customers. Today, winners would emerge for N1 million, N2 million and for the first time in GAIM 3 draw, a winner will emerge for N10 million.

“Upon conclusion of today’s draw, it would be a great joy for Fidelity Bank because we would have given out cash of N110 million and 108 consolation prizes of television sets, refrigerators and generators, separate from instant gifts I talked about earlier.’’

‘The grand prize of N10 million was won by John Silus Poubo, a seaman in Port Harcourt. In the monthly draw, winners of N2 million were Akpamgbo Stella (Lagos), Dokpesi Aleakhue and Okoye Ndubuisi (South South). For the bi-monthly draw, Ibenegbu Kingsley and Otubelu Uchechukwu emerged winners of N3 million each.’’

Also, Oghenewajutome Dennis, who recently completed his one-year National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) programme in Owo, Ondo State, received N3 million, having emerged winner in the Fidelity Bank’s GAIM fourth monthly and second bi-monthly draw held this month.

Dennis expressed joy at having joined the millionaires’club, saying he would use the cash to start a business and further his education.

Another winner in the draw, Anthony Ukoh, representing Man of Order and Discipline Movement of Nigeria, a security outfit in the Catholic Church, who won N1 million, said the money would go into charity causes and equipping the security group with the much- needed equipment.

Also, 10 lucky customers of the UBA recently won a three-day all- expenses paid trip to Kenya as part of its MoneyGram/Western Union Awoof promo while 40 other customers of the bank have also won various consolation prizes, such as LG Home theatres, Dstv decoders with one year subscription among other items at the raffle draw of the second edition of the promo held in Lagos.

Group Head, Consumer and Digital Banking, UBA, Anant Rao said the promo was to reward their customers and appreciate them for using the banks services. He said the lender wants to connect more with their customers, simplify consumer experiences using technology to make banking easier to their customers.

Equally, when FCMB set out to execute its 30th Anniversary promo, the bank did not fully appreciate the social responsibility value the exercise would present as a life-saving and changing opportunity. What an observer described as an intervention has directly provided a platform which ministered timely aid to Nigerians, including the underprivileged beyond gender, religious and geographical location and limitation.

Access Bank Plc has rewarded about 1,016 customers with more than N59 million at its Diamond Extra season 11 quarterly draw prize presentation.

At an event held at the bank’s headquarters in Lagos, Mrs Nnenna Chukwu was the star prize winner, winning N100,000 monthly for 20 years in the ‘Salary for life’ category. Others included Nwoko Chibuikem, Aliyu Umar and Adewale Adekoya.

Also, following its impressive full year results for 2018 released recently, Fidelity Bank started the new financial year strongly, posting a very impressive first quarter result. Details of the top lender’s first quarter results released at the NSE LAST Thursday showed appreciable growth in earnings, profits for the period ended March 31, 2019.

Gross earnings rose by 11.8 per cent from N43.3 billion in 2018 to N48.4 billion in the period under review, whie profits surged by 34 per cent from N5 billion in first quarter 2018 to N6.7 billion in 2019. Similarly, the bank recorded growth in deposits, loans and other performance indices during the period.

Speaking on the financial results, Okonkwo said the double digit growth in earnings and profits further demonstrates a positive start for the new financial year.

“We remain focused on the execution of our medium-term strategic objectives and targets for the 2019 financial year  while we look forward to sustaining the momentum and delivering another strong set of audited results for first half  2019 financial year,” Okonkwo stated.

He further revealed that the bank’s earnings grew by 11 percent on the back of growth in fund and fee-based income. “We recorded double digit growth across key income lines: FX income (334.4 per cent), digital banking income (34.6 per cent), account maintenance charge (25.5 per cent) and interest income on liquid assets (10.1 per cent),” he said.

According to the Fidelity Bank CEO, digitalisation and the bank’s retail strategy continues to positively impact on its fortunes with 43 per cent of customers enrolled on the mobile/internet banking products and more than 81 percent of total transactions done on digital platforms, resulting in 25 per cent in fee-based income, coming from digital banking.

Savings deposits, which now account for 24 per cent of total deposits in the period increased by 6.2 per cent to N242.1 billion, indicating that the bank is on a steady march to achieving the sixth consecutive year of double-digit savings growth.

It is estimated that over 3,000 customers have been made millionaires through various financial products and marketing promotions by banks in the last five years, and this is seriously driving deposits and boosting the asset base of the banks leading the revolution.

The Ernst & Young Global Consumer Banking Survey of 55,000 consumers in 32 countries recommended that traditional banks needed to rethink – and in some cases even revolutionise – their approach to consumer relationships.

The EY report stressed the need for financial institutions to show commitment to the financial development of their customers as such commitment was capable of multiplying businesses for the institutions and thus reinvigorating the economy.

The Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, CRC Credit Bureau Limited, ‘Tunde Popoola, had said banks with poor innovative tendencies were fast heading for extinction.

He said the era of traditional banking had gone and to remain relevant, financial institutions must be very conscious about how they render services to customers.