AjoCard; Meeting the Needs of the Underserved in the Financial Industry

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CEM REPORT | As the days go by, the Fintech Industry has continued to evolve and assuming the position of central player in the financial transaction space. As new companies come on board, the scope keep widening and transformational innovations are introduced, powered by cutting edge technological applications.

Companies who stand out in this industry have a common denomination which is developing solutions tailored towards specific needs and audience.

For AjoCard, a digital financial services provider, passion about their customers, the underserved in the financial industry underline the innovation it is bringing on board. This is the message encapsulated in a chat with Continental Economy Magazine at the Training and General Meeting organized by the Lagos Chapter of the Association of Mobile Money and Bank Agents in Nigeria, AMMBAN.

The event which took place on Thursday 11th August at the Eco Event Center, Egbeda was another opportunity for POS operators and Fintech companies to interact on new products and opportunities.

Chief Operating Officer of AjoCard, Titilola Feyijimi, emphasized on the focused customers of the company being at the center of their innovation.

She said; “We are very passionate about our customers, the underserved. These are the people we interact with every day; in the market place, the street, bus stops and so on. They are the market women, artisans, transporters. They are the people by virtue of their economic status do not have access to institutional financial services and that is where we come in. we are able to provide products; savings, loans and insurance in a way that really meet them at their points need.”

While speaking on the company’s motivation to operate in the fintech industry, the Chief Executive Officer, Ike Eze, identified the industry as one with the most significant impact on the economy since it’s the major facilitator of movement of value.

Ike said; “The Fintech business is one of the businesses that has a greater effect on Nigeria and the economy. No matter what you do, there must be movement of value. So if you do X and someone need to be paid, there is a movement of value. Efficient movement of value is what allows us to build other industries. So we think the fintech is the first part to get built and then services and other things will sit on top of it.

“So for me, operating in the fintech space meant finding solutions that allow us to progress and for other businesses to start up.”

AjoCard core services include Savings, Loans and Health Insurance. This is in addition to the general cash-in and cash-out services.

The CEO said; “AjoCard focus is on our customers’ needs which are savings to give them financial prudence, loans to keep them in cash for some kind of bulk purchases and health insurance to keep them healthy always for their businesses and activities.

According to Titilola, these added products (value) are what differentiates AjoCard from other Fintech platforms being the strong tool for its competitiveness.

“We understand that the ecosystem is extremely fragmented and there is a lot of competition. But if you carefully analyze the players, the bulk of them literally participate in the cash-in and cash-out space. That is why we said we are differentiated, we bring savings, loans, insurance and it is not just the services we bring, but the way we bring the services.

“Our services are facilitated by our network of personal banker that go to the door step or shop of our customers so they don’t necessary have to leave their places of work of businesses and loose revenue, a replica of what we knew growing up. Those that lived in Isale Eko for example, knew hitherto the Alajo they patronized, they could be reached anytime and therefore there was no issue with cash collected. We are simply leveraging that same context with our personal bankers that comes to save you stress.

“This time, you are not tied to one personal banker, you can access our services with any AjoCard personal banker provided you have your card. Its virtually the best of both worlds, bringing in the context we are traditionally used to and leveraging technology to provide a service that is very much differentiated”; Titilola said.

Speaking more on the health insurance, Ike said; “Our health insurance is very affordable; N800 per month and covers the entire scope. We are not just doing malaria and typhoid, we are also doing dental and optical.

“We have almost 800 hospitals currently working with us. When you sign up with us, the personal banker will simply flip through the list of our hospital partners to locate the closest to you”

AjoCard’s 5years projection is to be the dominant platform for financial services to the underserved. This growth projection is anchored on the available opportunities which rests on its population and the percentage of the underserved.

The population of Nigeria is over 200 million people, projected to grow to 300 million in 30 years. 60% of this number is still unbanked. So it is a very sizeable population of people that need our services. We will focus on this segment of the market since it affords us a wide space for expansion.

Commending AMMBAN for their commitment and expanded network, Ike finds the Association a worthy partner for mutual benefit and for the development of the industry and the economy.

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