Tuesday, 21 May 2024

Access Bank forges a niche in Nigerian market through digitalisation

5 min read

By Sana Loauhidi

As part of its digital transformation, Access bank made significant investments in its infrastructure to upscale its banking offerings, including modernising its IT systems, and collaborating with strategic technology firms

Victor Etuokwu, deputy managing director at Access Bank Group, is leading operations, strategic development, stakeholder relations and performance of the retail banking business in Nigeria.

In 2006, Etuokwu began implementing the bank’s retail banking vision. Under his direction, the retail business established a strong reputation for offering high-quality and innovative products and services to customers, with the aim of making banking more accessible and convenient.

Victor Etuokwu, Deputy Managing Director, Access Bank Group

Focusing on customer experience to unlock growth opportunities

Access bank focused on learning about its customers’ needs to design services that best served them. Through its digital platform Access More, the overall user experience was improved with services such as Access Money Wallet, a mobile wallet service that enables customers to make transactions and transfers.

Its payment solution Access PayWithCapture allows customers to pay for goods and services using QR codes and near field communication technology. Customers can also conduct financial transactions over WhatsApp using Access WhatsApp. For wage earners, short-term loans are available on PayDay Loan.

The bank collaborated with several fintech businesses to enhance customer care and service delivery. For instance, the bank partnered with Airtel Africa to launch a platform where customers can deposit money into their Access Money Wallet using their mobile phones, and also perform basic banking transactions.

Through the bank’s loyalty program, digital platform users increased from around three million users in 2021 to over four million users in 2022. The loyalty program has about one million active subscribers. Customers who use services on the Access More application earn redeemable points through transactions such as bill payments. More than 100,000 points were awarded in 2022. The bank recorded more than 240 million transactions in 2022 worth over NGN 57 trillion ($123 billion).

Access bank offers digital lending to micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSME) by providing access to instant funding for inventory, working capital, float gaps, and other needs. Its digital lending platform uses advanced data analytics and artificial intelligence to assess the creditworthiness of customers.

In 2022, Access Bank issued 2.4 million digital loans worth NGN 168 billion ($360 million) via diversified digital lending products.

Etuokwo said: “With every feature, Access Bank has created products that are focused on the consumer. For instance, our super app Access More offers smartphone users in Africa an all-encompassing platform with value for both their lives and payments. Access Bank thinks ‘customer first’, with an end-to-end digital experience in mind.”

Driving social impact and financial inclusion

To enhance financial inclusion in the country, the bank made efforts to increase accessibility of its financial services in rural areas. The bank developed kiosks as micro-branches installed in rural locations all around the country to make financial services available to more people.

It also established branches in Zambia, Kenya, South Africa, Guinea, Rwanda, The Gambia, Cameroon, and Ghana in 2022, and continues to expand to more countries in Africa.

Euokwu said: “We are also committed to being a bank that gives more to our customers, and that includes more listening and more engagement.”

As part of the bank’s sustainability plan, it adopted strategies to lessen its carbon footprint. It implemented solar panels in its offices and branches in Nigeria and partnered with companies to provide solar-powered teller machines and mobile banking units in rural areas.

In 2021, it partnered with Starsight Energy to expand the installation of solar panels in more of its branches across Nigeria. Access Bank has issued green bonds to fund renewable energy and other sustainable projects. In 2019, the bank issued a NGN 15 billion ($41.6 million) green bond that supported the financing of renewable energy projects, and other sustainable initiatives that favoured a low-carbon economy.

 


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