GTBank, Etisalat Partner On New Retail Banking Service

Guaranty Trust Bank (GTB) and Etisalat have formed a business partnership targeted at connecting 55 million unbanked Nigerians in the next few months, through the mobile payment system, that will enable them open a Tier 1 bank account, using their mobile phones.

Announcing the initiative in Lagos on Tuesday, both organisations said the partnership would drive financial inclusion in the country, as championed by the Central Bank of Nigeria.

Given the estimated population of over 170 million Nigerians, and with the recent statistics that 85 million out of the 170 million Nigerians are adults and that only 30 million out of the 85 million adult Nigerians own bank accounts with various banks, GTB and Etisalat have assured Nigerians that they would be able to connect the remaining 55 million Nigerian adults that are without bank accounts, and help them open an account without stress, in the next few months, through their mobile payment initiative.

Head of eBusiness at GTB, Mr. Bolaji Lawal, who blamed the huge gap that exists between the banked and unbaked Nigerians, on the issue of financial documentation, which he said has deprived many adult Nigerians from enjoying the benefits of banking.

He however explained that the initiative borne of the partnership between GTBank and Etisalat, would remove the barrier of documentation, which now make it easy for Nigerians to own bank accounts via their mobile phones, without visiting the banks.

Guaranty Trust Bank and Etisalat Nigeria have partnered to introduce GTEasySavers, a savings account that is easy to open and easy to save, designed to enable underbanked and unbanked individuals achieve their financial goals, while operating a regular bank account, via their mobile phone.

The strategic alliance, which will enhance service delivery of both brands, will offer customers, unparalleled lifestyle and loyalty benefits.

Speaking on the partnership, the Managing Director and CEO of GTB, Mr. Segun Agbaje, said: "We are passionate about driving the CBN's financial inclusion strategy in ensuring the underbanked and unbanked, begin to find the propositions of banking services more attractive and convenient and then take the bold step of patronising our numerous bank products and offerings, a passion which we fully share with Etisalat Nigeria.

"This is a new chapter in the continuing growth of the banking industry, made possible through GTEasy Savers by GTB and Etisalat Nigeria. Enabling account opening via an Etisalat phone, will make it more convenient for individuals to carryout transactions, using the transformative power of the banking system," Etisalat CEO, Matthew Willsher, said. He added, "We will continue to offer innovative products and services in fulfillment of the promise we made to Nigeria over six years ago when we commence operations in the country. The partnership will also begin a journey for unbanked customers from our over 22 million subscriber base."

Registered subscribers of Etisalat network can conveniently open a GTEasySavers account by simply dialing a short codec *737*0# via their mobile phones and a ten digit GTBank account number is sent via SMS immediately. Funding of the account can be done be done by cash deposits at Etisalat Experience Centres and GTBank branches; electronic transfers from otter bank accounts; cash deposit ATMs at GTBank branches and GTB Express Agent locations.

The GTEasy Savers account operate like a regular bank account and is in line with the Central Bank of Nigeria's financial inclusion strategy for the country. Transaction limits for the account is pegged at CBN's Tier 1 Know Your Customer (KYC) status limits of N20,000 for single deposits and maximum cumulative of N200,000 account balance at any point in time. Benefits for account holders include free airtime, higher  interest rates on savings and quarterly rewards.

Customers who sign up for this account, need not provide any initial documentation, but can upgrade the status of their account to Tier 3 at anytime, by simply visiting any GTBank with additional information/documentation, including a valid identification card and utility bill.