Saturday, December 2Inside Business Africa

VFD Group unveils digital banking app V

VFD Group VFD Group, owners of the VFD Microfinance Bank, has launched one of its virtual banking platforms, V.

The app allows users create an account in less than two minutes using the mobile app.

Speaking during a media launch, Managing Director, VFD Microfinance, Azubike Emodi, said the virtual bank unveiled by the bank is a fully digital one-stop platform offering more to both the banked and unbanked Nigerians.

He said the product comes at a time when consumers are groaning under the burden of high maintenance fees, bank related charges and other regulatory demands, which banks pass unto the end-users in the financial sector.

He said V is closing the gap, which hitherto existed between established traditional banks and their customers.

According to him, experts behind V are taking a consumer-centric approach with an aggressive feedback collection mechanism to build an app that meets the objectives of the customers.

Explaining further on the app, he said: “We believe the banking customers should have better oversight of their account activities than what is currently obtainable. V is capitalising on essential customer-centric features that are currently being ignored.”

The Project Manager, Hugo Leijtens, who took the participants through the app’s ecosystem, said the app does not only provide banking services but helps integrate and bring customers together.According to Karen Abah, VFD Group Projects Manager, the move to become a fully digital platform started with the digitisation of microfinance services after acquiring the licence and working with third-party service providers for a particular period.

Business Performance Manager, VFD Group, Olukunle Salami said users can also earn for referring others and it’s not a one-off value for the referrer who keeps getting value as long as the other party keeps using the account. V’s referral programme basically allows users to create their own banks and become the bank’s sales agents.

He said he considers the referral programme as one that supports the average Nigerian’s hustle.

Meanwhile, as the new minimum capital requirement for Micro Finance Banks (MFBs) in Nigeria takes effect April 1, 2020, VFD said it will shape and improve the way business is done.

The outlook, Emodi said would make the offerings better for clients, adding that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) policy would lead mergers and acquisition for those that did not meet the recapitalisation, and therefore makes the offerings better for clients.

He said the firm has already recapitalised, and gotten the final approval from CBN, saying: “The initiative by the CBN is a good move. If you want to do this business, if you want to hold peoples’ deposit, you must have the capacity. That is the very first way to show the capacity. I can’t take people’s deposit perhaps N500million, N1billion and N2billion in deposit with a recapitalisation of N20million; it doesn’t augur well, if something goes bad, you can simply walk away. It is a good way to toughen up the industry a little bit more so that people that are coming into the microfinance bank space are people that are built to do the business.”

Considering the harsh economic environment, Emodi said it is not about giving loans to clients but an opportunity to do more customer education.

“What we notice about the small scale business is that they are passionate about the business, but they don’t seem to evaluate truly how they run the business, the risk of the businesses, so we are not in a hurry to give somebody money because they have collateral or because they have borrowed before and they have paid, we stick to understand what their business is doing.

“The economic condition is harsh but it is not about giving loan to a client just to collect interest without understanding how that loan would save their needs. So we team up with them, before we even give them money and we help them through the process.

“We plan to be the leading provider in seemingly crowded units. Even as the market is crowded with a lot of app, the only way to experience what is fully built in the app is to have a bank account,” he said.

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