Union Bank joins Busi­ness Call to Ac­tion group

The Guardian (Nigeria) - - BUSINESS - By Vic­tor Ifeanyi Uzoho

UNION Bank of Nige­ria Plc has an­nounced its mem­ber­ship of the group, Busi­ness Call to Ac­tion (BCTA), with a com­mit­ment to pro­vide ac­cess to fi­nan­cial ser­vices to a min­i­mum of 30,000 peo­ple from low in­come com­mu­ni­ties within 11 states across North­ern Nige­ria by 2020.

Launched at the United Na­tions in 2008, BCTA aims to ac­cel­er­ate progress to­wards the Sus­tain­able Devel­op­ment Goals (SDGS), by chal­leng­ing com­pa­nies to de­velop in­clu­sive busi­ness mod­els that will en­gage peo­ple at the base of the eco­nomic pyra­mid.

Union Bank’s mem­ber­ship of BCTA reaf­firms the Bank’s com­mit­ment to in­clu­sive and sus­tain­able busi­ness ini­tia­tives es­pe­cially to tackle fi­nan­cial ex­clu­sion in the North through the scale up of ded­i­cated fi­nan­cial prod­ucts and channels.

This com­mit­ment in­cludes the “Project North” ini­tia­tive, an in­no­va­tive and strate­gic ap­proach for the bot­tom of the eco­nomic pyra­mid in ar­eas in Nige­ria, where eco­nomic ac­tiv­i­ties are grad­u­ally re­cov­er­ing fol­low­ing the eight year-long bat­tle against ter­ror­ist in­sur­gency.

Un­der Project North, Union Bank has launched, Unionko­r­rectd aidai, a tenured sav­ings prod­uct in se­lected states across North­ern Nige­ria, for the ben­e­fit of low in­come earn­ers, which fea­tures in­cen­tive-based bank­ing in­clud­ing re­duced monthly sav­ings, and op­por­tu­ni­ties to win prizes in quar­terly pro­mo­tional draws.

Speak­ing on the mem­ber­ship, the Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Of­fi­cer, Union Bank, Emeka Emuwa, noted that Join­ing Busi­ness Call to Ac­tion is a log­i­cal step for the bank, to­wards its ef­forts to gal­vanise pri­vate sec­tor par­tic­i­pa­tion in de­vel­op­ing Nige­ria fol­low­ing their ac­tion for a N100­bil­lion fund.

“As a Bank, we will con­tinue to de­velop sus­tain­able prod­ucts and ser­vices that ad­dress poverty and fi­nan­cial in­clu­sion in line with our com­mit­ment to sup­port the com­mu­ni­ties within which we op­er­ate,” Emuwa said.

Also speak­ing on the mem­ber­ship, BCTA Pro­gramme Man­ager, Paula Pe­laez, said, “Union Bank of Nige­ria’s ap­proach to tack­ling the chal­lenge of ac­cess to fi­nan­cial ser­vices in north­ern Nige­ria shows both in­no­va­tion and cre­ativ­ity, en­abling it to meet the spe­cific needs of com­mu­ni­ties liv­ing in this area, while main­tain­ing com­pany prof­its.”

In ad­di­tion to Unionko­r­rect­daidai, Union Bank of­fers a range of fi­nan­cial prod­ucts that have a low en­try bar­rier, aimed at pro­mot­ing fi­nan­cial in­clu­sion.

These in­clude Union­fu­ture, a long-term sav­ings prod­uct with min­i­mum monthly sav­ings tar­gets of 2,000 and Union­beta, a one-off sav- ings prod­uct where part of the in­ter­est ac­crued is used to sup­port any char­ity cho­sen by the cus­tomer.

With this mem­ber­ship, Union Bank has joined over 200 com­pa­nies, rang­ing from multi­na­tion­als to so­cial en­ter­prises, and work­ing in 67 coun­tries, who have re­sponded to BCTA by com­mit­ting to im­prove the lives and liveli­hoods of mil­lions in de­vel­op­ing coun­tries through ac­cess to mar­kets, fi­nan­cial ser­vices, af­ford­able health­care, ed­u­ca­tion and other crit­i­cal ser­vices.

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