Etisalat’s smart banking with GTEasysavers

bank-customersOwning a mobile phone is easier than opening a bank account in Nigeria. Aside the many levels of documentation involved in the traditional banking system, there is the problem caused by proximity to bank branches or ATM machines. Today, many people in the informal sector still keep their savings at home.
The recent strategic partnership between Nigeria’s fastest growing and most innovative telecommunications company, Etisalat and one of Nigeria’s top banks, GTBank would, however, go a long way in resolving this challenge, as it makes having a bank account as easy as getting a phone line!
The GTEasysavers Account which is the result of the partnership between GTBank and Etisalat was launched simultaneously in two locations, Lagos and Abuja. At the different venues, a cross section of journalists were shown how easy it is to open a GTEasysavers Account.

Easy does it
Registered subscribers on the Etisalat network can open a GTEasysavers account by dialing the USSD short code: 737*0# on their mobile phones, after which they will receive an SMS that composes a ten digit GTBank account number. Owners of the new account can then make cash deposits at Etisalat Experience Centres, and GTBank branches. They can also make electronic transfers from other banks, use Cash Deposit ATMs at GTBank branches and GT Express Agent locations.

Undoubtedly, the product has the possibility of becoming highly relevant in Nigeria, with the increasing call for a cashless society.
Speaking at the launch of the breakthrough product, the Chief Executive Officer of Etisalat Nigeria, Matthew Willsher said the company continues to look forward to creating revolutionary solutions for its customers.

He explained that the partnership with GTBank will guarantee that customers get the best since both companies are at the forefront of innovation in Nigeria. The telco is also trusting that GTEasysavers would make banking more accessible to everyone. Also commenting at the event, the Managing Director of GTBank, Segun Agbaje expressed delight in the shared values of the bank and the telco to make innovative changes.
The smart move
The strategic move of Etisalat and GTBank comes at a time when the mobile phone is becoming a vital instrument in the future of the banking industry. A Wall Street Journal (WSJ) article on the “10 innovations of the bank of the future,” notes the important place of the mobile phone in future banking system. It states that, “The banks of the future will be on mobile phones.”
While expressing optimism for more partnerships with the telco and the banks, Willsher said, “this is the start. I am sure there are many more solutions we can offer in the future.” He assured the media that Etisalat Nigeria will initiate plans for more breakthroughs. 
With the GTEasysavers, the Etisalat line is more than a communication channel, but is now a platform for financial inclusion and a vital instrument for making financial services available to those in the rural areas. 
Wooing the unbanked population
In a survey conducted by Enhancing Financial Innovation and Access, EFInA, on financial inclusion in 2012, it was noted that, 34.9million adults representing 39.7 per cent of Nigeria’s adult population, were financially excluded.

Further still, only 2.5 per cent of the adult population were banked. The research also shows that billions of naira circulates the informal sector, which could negatively impact on the country’s economic expansion.
The survey reveals that 23.0 million adults still save at home. The CBN understands the challenge this may pose to the economy and is hoping that before the year 2020, it would have reduced the number of under-banked and unbanked people in Nigeria by 20 per cent.
It is highly commendable that Etisalat is creating innovative solutions for its subscribers to enjoy, through strategic partnerships with leading financial institutions. Etisalat had in the past introduced the Easywallet application, which offers its customers a platform for services like sending money to family and friends, making payment for DSTV, GOTV and LCC bill among others. It offers Etisalat customers easy and convenient access to their mobile money wallet and bank account.

• Olayinka , a Public Affairs analyst wrote in from Ikeja, Lagos State.

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