By Nkiruka Nnorom
Osita Ede is the Head, Consumer Liability Products at Diamond Bank Plc. In this interview, he addresses some of the concerns on the bank’s flagship loyalty scheme – DiamondXtra, saying that merger with Access Bank will not affect the scheme, which has been on for over 10 years.
He explains that the integration will rather make the reward scheme bigger and better.
We are aware that Diamond Bank has many retail products. DiamondXtra is one of them. With the proposed merger with Access Bank, what happens to DiamondXtra and the rewards?
Really, we have looked at all that and, to us, it is going to be a bigger DiamondXtra. The loyalty scheme stays the way it is.
So, for some of the concerns that have been coming like what happens to customers who won prices like Salary for Life, the message we want to go out there is that nothing changes; your prices will still keep coming, the payment will keep coming.
DiamondXtra remains the same. In fact, we are not even changing the name. So, as we merge, it is going be become a bigger bank; we are stronger together. So, the idea is that we push out the product for all the customers.
Just imagine DiamondXtra with all the customers in Access Bank getting involved. It is going to be a much bigger reward scheme.
In this era of low purchasing power, how has the scheme impacted on the standard of living of your customers?
In fact, it has been fantastic. One of the reasons we are bent on keeping DiamondXtra is as a result of some of the testimonies from customers of how the rewards have touched and changed their lives. This has been a life changer for a lot of people and for that reason, we want to continue with that experience. It is our own way of connecting with an average Nigerian and we want to continue with that. If you go on the website, there is video of a welder who won Salary for Life. The young man never knew he would win and every month, he gets N100, 000 paid into his account and it’s going to continue for 20 years.
You are almost concluding Season 10 and planning Season 11. What is the uniqueness of Season 11?
The good thing there is that season 10 is running till the end of January and then we will launch a bigger and better season. What I am going to tell you is that we have never disappointed our customers when it comes to the reward scheme.
Could you do a review of Season 10? What are the unique things that happened in Season 10 that you think people out there should know?
In Season 10, we actually had more winners that we had in Season Nine. In fact the total number of winners for Season 10 were 4,957, about five percent more what we had in Season 9. We made 130 millionaires and we gave out three brand new cars. We introduced a special price category called Education Grant. In that education grant, the winner gets one hundred thousand naira every month for five years. Just imagine having your ward getting into school and for the next five years, the individual gets N100,000 every month for five years, it is very wonderful reward scheme. We didn’t just throw out this reward; we engaged our customers to know the additional things they want to see in the DiamondXtra and from the feed back we got, a number of people talked about education while others talked about rent. The season was actually a response to that survey. We included education grant and rent for a year. The individual that wins rent for a year gets one million naira reward. So, it’s been exciting all through for season 10 and we made sure the reward goes round the country.
Diamond Bank has other savings products, but the emphasis has been on DiamondXtra. Why is the bank not driving promotional campaign with other retail products?
We are not just focusing on DiamondXtra, but it is the solution that has got the reward scheme. There are so many benefits that are attached to other products but we are driving those ones separately. This is scheme where we say anyone who really wants to be incentivized for saving should come on board. If you want to participate in our reward scheme, a special solution for that is DiamondXtra.
Post merger, will the customers of Access Bank be given the opportunity to participate the promo?
Absolutely, it will be open to both customers from Access and Diamond Bank, but before integration, if an Access Bank customer wants to participate, he/she can open DiamondXtra account and get on board. After integration, we will fine-tune the process to make sure that Access Bank customers who are in the same product category get involved. So, basically, DiamondXtra is going to become bigger; we are going to throw in some additional sweeteners.
So far, you have been talking about the benefits to your customers, what does the bank stand to gain from the process. How has it impacted on your bottomline especially?
For us, It is a great thing to know that we are touching lives and helping the Nigeria’s economy in terms of being able to save. There are a lot of funds outside the financial system and then being able to encourage people to bring such money to the bank is also a way of stabilising the Nigerian economy. So, for us as a bank, we see it as a very significant way of connecting with our customers and also touching lives and of course, rewarding our loyal customers. For instance, I get so excited when I see a customer who has banked with us for a number of years emerging a winner. It is exciting and when you look at it, such customer never leaves you, they stay with you as a bank because every day, you are touching their lives.
What is your relationship with the regulatory agencies like National Lottery Regulatory Commission in relation to the promos?
For the regulators, the main thing is that the rules are there. So, just follow the rules and guidelines and you are okay. Usually, what they try to find out is whether the process of selecting the winners is transparent and whether payment of the winnings is done in a transparent manner. For us, we invite them in every draw that we do and we make sure that we don’t keep them in the dark. Basically, we provide them with information on the draws.
As long as all the information is on our website so that they can access it and you are transparent, you will not have issues. Again, our draws are validated by KPMG; we don’t just run the draws. KPMG ensures that every customer who should be in the draw is selected and put in the draw. So, they monitor everything.
The way it works is that every five thousand naira in your account gives you one ticket; ten thousand naira gives you two tickets into the draw and so on. So, KPMG checks all that before the draw is held. So, NLRC, KPMG and Consumer Protection Council all make sure that things work out well and there has never been any problem in the last ten years we have run this campaign.
Do you have any plan of reviewing the prices after integration with Access Bank?
We are looking at the prices. Season 11 is in the works and it is coming out much bigger and better.
Proposed customers of the bank would like to know how to qualify and participate in the promo. So, does a customer qualify?
It’s very simple. To participate in either the monthly or quarterly draws, all that the existing customers need to do is just increase their account balance with a minimum of N5, 000 from the beginning of the month till the day of the draw. For new customers, all they nned to do is to visit any of our Diamond Bank branch close to them and open a DiamondXtra account with a minimum of N5, 000 and increase their balance with a minimum of N5, 000 before the draw date. Every N5, 000 saved increases the chances of winning.