By Martin Ekpeke
As part of its efforts to key into the Central Bank of Nigeria’s financial inclusion target of 2020, Nigeria’s CWG Plc has sealed a deal with China’s GRG Banking to make ATM services more available across Nigeria.
Announcing the deal at a joint press conference in Lagos yesterday, CWG’s Vice President for Sales and Marketing, overseeing Product Management, noted that the relationship with GRG became necessary because CWG believes access to financial services should not be a luxury that is available for a select few, but for every Nigerian, especially those in the rural areas.
He disclosed that CWG, which presently supports about 30 percent of ATM base and has 450 support hubs across Nigeria, has conducted its own due diligence on GRG in China and is reasonably satisfied that the arrangement will help provide best-in-class Automated Teller Machines services (ATMs) that will ease the burden of functionality, efficiency and accessibility of funds for the general populace.
“We believe that our alignment with GRG Banking will widen our ATM as a Service concept and ultimately expand the horizon for financial inclusion in Nigeria,” he noted.
Already, CWG has begun leveraging on the relationship, as only recently, it supplied GTBank with over 100 new GRG Banking ATMs across Nigeria under its hardware business model, with the intention to spread to over 1,000 machines across West Africa in the coming months.
Also lending his voice to this, GRG Banking’s Sales Manager for Africa Region, Mr. George Kaloutas, argued that the essence of financial inclusion is to widen the financial services space to accommodate every Nigerian.
He said having deployed solutions in African countries like; Tunisia, Morroco, Senegal, Togo, Benin and major successes in Kenya, GRG Banking is best fit to work with CWG in getting ATM closer to the people within this environ also.
Asked what the unique value GRG will be bringing to this offering, Kaloutas said GRG was offering robust equipments built specifically for the Nigerian market, with flexibility in mind. “We are prividing a digital platform, though with a combination of the brick and mortal banking operation. This platform will drive the ATM ecosystem in Nigeria, ensuring seamless financial transactions for payment of goods and services which are done electronically through various electronic channels. The focus is efficiency, affordability, safe and secure pathways; delivered with due responsibility in a sustainable manner,” he explained.
Nigeria’s apex bank, the CBN is faced with a challenge of closing the gap for the financially excluded. Presently, the gap has been reduced to 5 percent with the aim of reaching a 20 percent target by 2020.
This is more reason why CWG, a pioneer of most financial technology innovation in the country in the last two decades; deploying software solutions to over 60 Financial Institutions and GRG Banking, a subsidiary of Guangzhou Radio Group, which offers financial self-service products and solutions such as Intelligent Cash Deposit machines and Cash Recyclers(P Series) Cash Recycling ATMs(H Series) , Cash sorting Machines( CM Series) and recently Cash Dispensing ATMs( N and V Series) are coming together to speed up the deployment of ATM across Nigeria.