By Providence Emmanuel
Over the years, thrift collection, popularly called Esusu, Ajo or Adashe” in some Nigeria local languages was being done at a micro level.
Individual men and women who were operating the business go to homes, markets and wherever they can find people to save money with them.
At the end of the month, contributors collect what they had saved. Often times, the savings are used to finance a business or solve a need.
However, Deposits Money Banks, DMBs, and other financial institutions such as insurance companies have intruded into the business, modernized it by using information technology.
One of the commercial banks in Nigeria that has embraced Esusu scheme as one of its products is Diamond Bank Plc.
Diamond Bank’s spokesperson, Chioma Afe, stated: “Diamond eSUSU is in line with the bank’s strategic objective to provide innovative products and services that meet the needs of customers.
This led to the creation of this digital-based product. We sought for and acted on customers feedback and in doing so realized that the eSUSU system is not only widespread across all classes of the society but that it is also one of the preferred ways of mixing saving and low-cost lending.”
She explained that the scheme has brought underbanked people into formal banking systems, adding that this is a huge achievement for Diamond Bank and the Nigerian economy.
“Each member is able to access a larger sum of money (equivalent to the total amount due from the contribution of a fixed agreed amount by all the members within an agreed cycle) during the life of the contribution, and use it for whatever purpose she or he wishes.
“Diamond eSUSU is the refined traditional ‘Esusu, Ajo or Adashe’ as it is fondly called, in which two or more people of common interest come together to contribute an equal amount in a common purse and the accumulated funds are assigned to each member of the group in rotation, until all have benefited from the pool of funds,” she said.
Afe said that the savings plan is a contributory and rotating saving scheme where customers can save on a secure platform with minimum of three and maximum of twelve people (friends, family, colleagues), plan collection dates and enjoy the benefit of bulk payment – an interest free borrowing (No management fees, no collateral!)”
“Also, this personal plan allows an individual save towards a targeted goal such as rent, wedding, and tuition. The individual selects amount, duration and date he would like to be debited for up to 12 months,” she stated.
A beneficiary of the scheme, Mr. Tolu Jagun, said” It is a modernised way of contribution which I advise most employees to imbibe; Where I work, we are five in the group, a colleague of five can decide to be paying N200, 000 monthly, every month the money is credited into the account of the person due for that month. You do not need to be dragged before paying. As a customer, it helps you plan your future and there is no room for default.
“In our communities, Ajo is done locally to solve some immediate problems but in this case, the collection is done electronically in rounds and the money is paid to individual accounts based on what was agreed.”
Mr. Jagun encourages corporate and individual to go into local contribution but in a modernised way.
He asserted that Diamond Bank is committed to customers because they will call you two days before the due date to inform you of maturity date via email. Once the day is due, the money would hit the individuals account whether it is holiday or weekend.
Mr. Afolabi James, another customer of the bank, said that he was patronizing local thrift collectors but decided to embrace the one being driven by banks because of the high risk involved in the local esusu.
“Often times, you hear that the person collecting the esusu has disappeared, so, in order to avoid loss of money I pulled out to join esusu driven by commercial banks. Banks have their name to protect” he said.