Olufunwa Akinmade, the Divisional Head, Retail, SME Banking and E-Business, Unity Bank Plc, says the bank’s recently launched retail product Yanga is a unique product proposition aimed at empowering underbanked women entrepreneurs in Nigeria.
Akinmade, who spoke during a media chat, cited a recent EFInA report, showing that “there are 51 million Nigerian women above 18 years of age, with over 41% of them unbanked. Out of these figures, it is estimated that there are 14-18 million female entrepreneurs – mainly in the micro SME category.”
Recall that Unity Bank launched the women-focused Yanga account in November 2021 to promote financial inclusion and cater to unbanked women entrepreneurs across Nigeria in the MSME space.
The new product, the bank noted in a statement, is designed to deepen its beneficial impact on Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) operated by women in the mass-market retail space.
According to Akinmade, “recent research has shown that Nigeria has the highest number of women entrepreneurs in the world, with an estimated 40m SMEs, of whom women constitute approximately 42%.
“These women have proved beyond reasonable doubt that they have the capacity to create wealth and contribute productively to the economy. However, a lot more needs to be done and it starts with empowering them with the right tools to harness this entrepreneurship potential.
“Currently, they face many institutional and cultural hurdles while starting or running their businesses. For instance, a recent report shows that only 22% of female entrepreneurs have access to finance against 34% of males.
“This is part of why we have introduced Yanga to bridge this gap while also narrowing the population of underbanked women entrepreneurs,” he added, assuring that Yanga will play a critical role in boosting financial inclusion and narrowing the underbanked women population.
The account, he continued, comes with a unique product proposition that includes an easy-to-operate and free-to-open a Savings account, with no identification required, customized debit card, and dedicated sales officers. Other unique features include special banking agents in each market location and quarterly Seminars at main market locations anchored by Unity Bank and its alliance partners.
“By rolling out this scheme across all geopolitical regions, Unity bank’s objective is to work assiduously towards reducing the huge numbers of underbanked women in the country,” he added.
The bank listed key elements of the Yanga product experience to include micro-loans availed with time-tested Credit Policies and backed with technology-based credit scoring, as well as HMO offerings. These, the statement noted further, would help detect frivolous applications as well as reduce NPLs.
Yanga is available to all women entrepreneurs nationwide, even as the bank is currently conducting market activations in strategic locations across the country with its brand ambassador- popular Nollywood actor, Sola Sobowale.
So far, the Yanga activation train has been to Gombe, Akwa Ibom, and Ibadan and is currently in Lagos and en route Port Harcourt, the statement added further.