Business

May 29, 2024

A review of CoopHub: Wema Bank’s digital solution for Cooperative Societies

Wema Bank

By Emeka Anaeto, 

Business Editor

In Nigeria and across the world, Cooperative Societies are defined as jointly owned and democratically controlled enterprises created with the objective of meeting the common economic, social and cultural needs and goals of members. However, the operational modalities for different Cooperative Societies may vary across nations—especially as technology and innovation continue to permeate and transform the world.

Taking the bold step, Wema Bank recently launched its new digital solution for Cooperative Societies, named CoopHub, breaking new grounds in the Nigerian banking industry as the pioneer of the first of CoopHub’s kind among Nigerian commercial banks. Wema Bank has not only successfully enhanced the credibility of digital Cooperative Societies through CoopHub, but also committed to empowering Cooperative Societies for optimal productivity. 

In this article, we will determine the authenticity of this promise by analysing the unique features, effectiveness, and potential impact of CoopHub within the context of Nigerian Cooperative Societies.

CoopHub is Wema Bank’s digital solution designed to enhance productivity for Cooperative Societies by optimising processes for increased efficiency, facilitating access to key resources needed for success and providing a reliable platform for effective end-to-end management and communication, thereby bridging the prevalent gaps in the Cooperative experience for both Cooperative Leaders and Members. The solution is accessible on any internet-enabled device and open to all Cooperative Societies in Nigeria.

Here is how CoopHub works. Cooperative Societies consist of the leader(s) and the members. The leaders are responsible for managing every detail of the Cooperative Society and its operations, from records to finances, members, meetings and more, but that exactly defines the scope of their operations. Democracy is an integral characteristic of Cooperative Societies, so while the leader manages the Cooperative Society, it is important that 100% transparency is maintained, members feel represented, and the collective good of the people remains paramount. Upholding the principle of democracy, CoopHub allows for an end-to-end experience for both members and leaders to monitor and track the activities of the Cooperative Society on both ends—Admin (Leader) via the CoopHub website at coophub.alat.ng and Members via the CoopHub app available on Playstore or App Store. Let’s dive right into the unique features and USPs of CoopHub.

1. Custom-made loan options with seamless loan request process

Where better to begin than with the financials? Loans and financing are a critical point of need for Cooperative Societies. With some Cooperative Societies having hundreds of members, it can be practically impossible to access loans for the general use of the Cooperative Society or its members.

CoopHub boasts an impressive range of loan options tailored to the needs of different demographics of Nigerians, from women to business owners, salary earners, youth and even the Corporates. With CoopHub, not only do members enjoy access to customised loans under the “Loans” section of the app, but leaders also enjoy one less thing to worry about. No need for bank visits, physical cheques and the stress of handling cash. A simple loan request on CoopHub from anywhere you are, and you’re good to go.

2. Integrated contribution, incentive and withdrawal system

Managing contributions and making withdrawals within a Cooperative Society can be tedious for both members and leaders, especially when stuck on manual processes. This is where CoopHub comes in.

CoopHub allows Cooperative Society members and leaders to make, track and even withdraw contributions from anywhere and at any time, all on CoopHub. The platform essentially serves as a conflict resolution agent as both the member and the admin can monitor and track transaction activity on both ends—no need to argue about whether a payment was missed or not. As the saying goes, “Men lie, Women lie but the Numbers don’t”. CoopHub’s strategic integration also allows the Admin to allocate incentives to members, as well as for members to make withdrawals into their bank accounts as needed, under the “Contributions” and “Incentives” sections on their dashboard.

But how do you control these withdrawals to ensure that no one is exceeding their limits or making illicit withdrawals from the collective purse—especially the admin? Let’s address that in the next point.

3. Secure cash deposits and transfers This is perhaps one of the best features of CoopHub. As earlier mentioned, Cooperative Societies thrive on democracy and failure to uphold democratic principles can lead to the failure of the Cooperative Society itself. CoopHub facilitates the execution and management of fully secure transactions within the Cooperative Society and even goes a step further—this is where it gets interesting.

CoopHub offers a three-factor authentication model for withdrawals within the Cooperative Society: Initiator, Verifier, Approver. This means that no single person can make a withdrawal on their own without the concurrence of a Verifier and Approver, two other members of the Cooperative Society. Not even the admin can withdraw any funds from the Cooperative Society’s purse, without the concurrence of a Verifier and Approver.

The best part is that selecting the Verifier and Approver for this process is at the Cooperative Society’s discretion. As is the norm in a democracy, the members nominate the Verifier and Approver and to limit monopoly of power, the Verifier and Approver can be two other members of the Cooperative Society excluding the leader or admin. This ensures that the Cooperative Society’s finances are 100% safe and secure with CoopHub.

The Admin also enjoys seamless and secure bulk transfer, multiple transfer and beneficiary transfer options under the “Funds Transfer” section of the Admin dashboard, allowing for ease of disbursement of funds as approved by the Cooperative Society.

The beauty of CoopHub being powered by a credible Commercial Bank is the additional layer of security for both members and leaders, as leaders also don’t have to worry about any member coveting funds or failing to repay loans.

4. Simplified member registration and management

With Cooperative Societies, there is usually no maximum limit on the number of members allowed. As a result, Cooperative Societies can accommodate members in hundreds and sometimes, even thousands. Managing such a vast community manually, even if possible, would be strenuous to say the least, and CoopHub perfectly bridges the gap that this creates.

CoopHub not only provides a platform for Cooperative Society leaders to manage their entire community seamlessly on one dashboard but also allows prospects and aspiring members to join the Cooperative Society without even having to leave their homes. Cooperative Society leaders can view a member’s entire transaction activity since joining the Cooperative Society all at once, and access more insights on members’ needs and characteristics, effortlessly, under the “User Management” section of the Admin dashboard. Somehow, it gets even better.

5. Real-time analytics

Data is life and for Cooperative Societies to grow and succeed, a data-driven approach to decision making is paramount. CoopHub provides real-time analytics on the go under the “Report Analytics” section of the Admin dashboard, allowing Cooperative Society leaders to access pertinent insight into trends, patterns, anomalies, successes and failures among members and within the entire Cooperative Society. This information mine makes for more informed decision making and engagement with stakeholders, towards the prosperity of the Cooperative Society.

6. Comprehensive communication While platforms like WhatsApp have made communication easier for groups and Cooperative Societies, group chats pose the threat of “lost” messages as these boxes are easily clogged with various kinds of information. In a group chat with over 500 members, communication can be hard to manage. As such, important updates can get lost in the crowd, resulting in members of a Cooperative missing important information, updates and opportunities. CoopHub offers a seamless communication framework under the “Events and Announcements” section on both the Admin and Member/User dashboards, allowing Cooperative Society leaders to set up Events within the community or make announcements while members immediately get notified in the corresponding section of the app.

This allows seamless communication of important information relevant to the Cooperative Society, to all members at once.

Summary

The big picture for CoopHub’s cutting-edge technology is not just its success in addressing the needs of Cooperative Societies from both the leaders and members’ perspectives, but more so the potential of CoopHub to holistically accelerate productivity within Cooperative Societies. Based on the identified problem areas and the solutions provided by CoopHub, it is certain that CoopHub is the future of the Nigerian Cooperative industry and the solution that every Cooperative Society needs.

A quick picture of the transformative impact of CoopHub

Imagine this: A person has to travel two hours to register to join a Cooperative Society. Should they lack any of the required documentation, chances are they’ll have to return another time to complete the registration process. They finally become members and now, they have to go to the bank or find the nearest ATM/POS machine to make contributions, assuming they religiously keep track of these contributions. The Admin on the other hand is receiving calls and visits daily, physically onboarding new members while struggling to manage the Cooperative Society and its existing members.

Hardcopy paper trails mean loads of files to sift through every time this Admin needs to make reference to a record, and this means hours of each day spent getting just one or two tasks completed. On top of all that, said leader still has to juggle the resolution of all resulting conflicts. “Did this man really pay 5k? Where will I find that receipt now?” or “This woman loan balance from last year was 200k but rain has smudged off all the ink in my records, what do I do?”. On one end, the member may genuinely believe that they did make that payment and on the other end, the leader could be wrong and all it would have taken to resolve these is a consolidated database. To crown it all the more conflicts arise, the more tedious meetings the community will have to endure. Imagine how stressful this Cooperative Society must be for both the leader and members.

Now, the reality of Cooperative Societies with CoopHub. In truth, running a Cooperative Society or belonging to one has never been easier than it is with CoopHub. The 2-hour+ journey that would have been made to a physical location for registration is covered by a simple download. In five minutes or even less, the leader onboards a new member on CoopHub. The member sits in the comfort of their home and can make contributions or withdrawals, receive incentives, track transactions and request loans, all with a few clicks on their phone. The leader enjoys easy access to the Cooperative Society, member details, analytics, and can pull up a record in less than a minute—no need to move an inch. Conflict rates drop significantly, members needs are met more easily with the most minimal effort, leaders have more time to brainstorm and innovate better ideas for growth and the Cooperative Society continues to thrive, without negative impact on other areas of the lives of both members and leaders. This is the ideal Cooperative Society experience and this is the future.

With CoopHub, manual recordkeeping, poor governance and management structure, lack of transparency, unresolved conflicts, lack of control system by members, mistrust and other prevalent challenges impeding the growth, efficiency and productivity of Cooperative Societies become a thing of the past and the Cooperative industry is equipped to maximise resources, thrive and scale. With CoopHub’s well thought out range of unique solutions tailored to the needs of both the leaders and members of Cooperative Societies, these communities are empowered to operate more efficiently, produce optimal results, and become Cooperatives that actually cooperate. This is what the Nigerian Cooperative Society industry needs, and this is what Wema Bank has provided with CoopHub.

Wema Bank has through the launch of CoopHub, provided a solution to the holistic needs of Cooperative Societies, singlehandedly enhanced credibility to the advantage of Cooperative Industry and inadvertently shaped the future of Cooperative Societies in Nigeria. To the question of how authentic Wema Bank’s promise of empowering Cooperative Societies for optimal productivity is, the answer is 100%.