BY EMEKA AGINAM
The newly introduced electronic cash distribution system by world’s number one brand in retail foreign exchange, Travelex is already becoming the toast of registered operators of Bureau De Change (BDC) business in the country.
Travelex in its innovative approach to business had introduced last April, cash distribution centres (CDC) that migrated foreign exchange distribution to the BDCs from the manual approach to a more efficient electronic system with initial rollout plan in Lagos, and subsequently in Abuja and Kano. Lagos centre went into full operation last April.
Already, activities in the Lagos centre is fast, smooth and friendly and BDC operators seem to be relishing the service describing it variously as fantastic and excellent.
“This system is fantastic. Every transaction went on smoothly. If every business transaction in Nigeria is like this, it will be fantastic for the country and Nigerians”, says a BDC operator at the centre.
Another operator summed his experience at the electronic CDC as, “Excellent, very excellent and I give kudos to Travelex for this innovation and there is no comparism with the former approach. They should keep it up please, and there are no challenges for now”. As a result, the BDCs are clamoring for CBN to increase their dollar benchmark from the current $50, 000 per week.
The CDC is a positive fallout from recent extension of Travelex strategic partnership (outsourcing) to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). The partnership guaranteed the establishment of cash distribution centres across the country to process the forex requirements of BDCs. Travelex apart from being the world’s leading foreign exchange specialist; it is also the world’s leading supplier of outsourced foreign currency services.
A close check at the Lagos centre located at Union Bank building at Marina shows an efficient and friendly business environment. The service is characterized by speed as it takes less than 11 seconds for a BDC operator to collect cash (foreign currency) after the day’s registration and security checks that are also done in split seconds. In fact, it takes less than 20 seconds to register and pay cash to each BDC.
As at last August, 1200 registered BDC operators in the Lagos zone out of 1316 have signed on to the new service. The balance of 116 operators have not logged to the new electronic service not because of the fault of the system, but due to inability to meet up with some requirements as stipulated by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). Travelex officials are optimistic that the remaining will enjoy the electronic transaction after sorting themselves out.
The sign on figure as at inception of the centre in April was about 920 operators and the continued surge in new entrants is not unconnected with the smooth, fast and efficient nature of operations at the centre.
According to Tony Enwereji, the general manager, Travelex Nigeria, the cash distribution centre is a move away from the manual to electronic service. He explained that it is a system managed process that ensures transactions are fully automated.
“This is quicker, faster and more efficient. It requires finger prints of the BDC operator and a card to gain access with every detail, including the picture tracked. The system has a quick audit trail and takes a maximum of 32 seconds to process a request.
“The experience has been something different. The BDCs welcome it, no complaints because the system is fast and efficient. The initial resistance is gone and they are cooperating happily.
“We are not surprised as we took time to do the trials and pilot system before going public. The trials worked stress free and it is amazing the result we got. There were no challenges and the result is what the BDCs are enjoying currently”, Enwereji disclosed.”