The economic growth of any nation cannot be achieved without putting in place well focused bank products that could reduce poverty and increase peopleâ€™s access to factors of production, especially credit.
In most developing economies, the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) are referred to as the engine of growth, largely because, this sector accounts for over 65 per cent of the total economy.
In Nigeria today, the formal financial system provides services to about 35 percent of the economically active population, while the remaining 65 percent are excluded from access to financial services.
In a bid to address this gap, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had in 1999 bankerâ€™s committee meeting introduced the Small and Medium Enterprises Equity Investment Scheme (SMEEIS).
The initiative had been in response to federal governmentâ€™s concerns and policy measures for the promotion of SMEs as vehicles for rapid industrialisation, sustainable economic development, poverty alleviation and employment generation.
Under the scheme banks were required to set aside ten (10) percent of their Profit After Tax for equity investment and promotion of SMEs.
In effect what Access bankÂ is doing is similar in some distance, different in some circumstance with itâ€™s Mpower Biz product is differentÂ from what was experienced by SMEs during the equity investment regime.
Describing the products, Chinwe Uzoho, Group Head, Product Research & Development of Access Bank said that,Â Mpower a high yield business current account with Zero COT, specially designed for Small and Medium entrepreneurs, while itâ€™s Access Advantage is also a hybrid savings account with current account features.The bank said that the product which was designed for SMEs targets professional firms, Schools, Churches etc.
Further, the Uzoho explained that the account offers zero COT on all transactions, as well as pays competitive interest on the credit balance. â€œThe product accommodates emerging and established businesses, to enable them maximize the cost of doing business. There are no restrictions to the number of withdrawals a customer can make on the account, she assured.
Continuing, the bank stated that the products have been re-packaged with new value added benefits to enable customers manage their business effectively.
The benefits she listed as; the Access SME toolkit and the Market Intelligence report. Expatiating, the Group Product Research Head, said explained that The Access
SMEÂ Toolkit is a free financial tool which helps business owners start, grow and manage their business better.
She also said that the tool enables business owners make short and long term plans, identify areas where profit can be made, grow sales as well reduce cost.
She further stated that the Access SME Toolkit comes in form of a CD, with a business start up plan, business spread sheet with cash flow forecast
While she noted that the Market intelligence report is offered free to customers, which gives them insight to current global financial/economic report which is important to business decisions.