By Micheal Eboh
Stanbic IBTC Bank Plc has secured the approval of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, to operate mobile payment services in Nigeria.
According to a statement by Stanbic IBTC, the license granted the bank will afford it the opportunity to contribute meaningfully towards the drive for a cashless economy.
The bank said it was one of the final awardees fully licensed by the CBN to operate mobile money services in Nigeria in accordance with the Mobile Payments Regulatory Framework.
Speaking on the development, Mrs. Sola David-Borha, Chief Executive Officer, Stanbic IBTC Bank, noted that the bank had since 2009 shown commitment to technology driven branchless banking under its retail banking division.
Subsequent to securing the license, she added that the bank, had in 2009, launched a product called ‘e.susu’ (BlueSave), a formal and technology-driven version of the traditional esusu savings model which has been highly successful at banking traders, artisans, and lower income population groups.
She further stated that with the license, the bank is well poised to deliver even greater value to stakeholders across the mobile money value chain.
She noted that the bank will leverage on the experience and expertise of its parent company, Standard Bank Group, which operates mobile money services in various markets in Africa, including Ghana, Uganda, Kenya and South Africa.
“We consider the license as another platform and opportunity through which we can showcase our bank’s ability to help customers simplify their lives, using relevant technology to make available products and services targeted at their needs. We will be launching various mobile payments products and services designed to enhance financial inclusion in the country,” David-Borha said.
Also speaking, Ada Phil-Ugochukwu, Head, Financial Inclusion at Stanbic IBTC Bank, says beyond its commercial potential, mobile payments have both social and economic benefits.
According to her, mobile payment will promote urban to rural remittances, savings and borrowing, allowing families to pursue economic initiatives, generate new streams of income, and accumulate small amounts of net worth.
“Mobile money will definitely open new channels of delivery which will hugely reinforce the Central Bank of Nigeria’s quest to enthrone a cashless economy in the country”.
Stanbic IBTC, was in July 2011, granted a preliminary license to provide Islamic banking services in Nigeria.
On the presentation of the license, CBN noted that with the award of the license, Stanbic IBTC is expected to commence Islamic banking within six months, failure in which the license becomes void, requiring that the bank reapply to the CBN for similar license.
The CBN further noted that the license, the first to be issued to any bank in Nigeria, will give the bank the opportunity to participate in the Shariah-compliant banking window, which forbids paying and receiving interest and loans, thereby enabling the bank to churn out Islamic banking products.