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How Unity Bank ‘yanga’ will empower underbanked women entrepreneurs – Official

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Mr Olufunwa Akinmade, Divisional Head, Retail, SME Banking and E-Business, Unity Bank Plc, has described the bank’s latest retail product ‘Yanga’ as a unique product aimed at empowering the underbanked women entrepreneurs in Nigeria.

Akinmade, who stated this during a chat with the media on Friday, noted that a recent EFInA report revealed that 41 per cent of 51 million Nigerian women above 18 years were unbanked.

Out of these figures, Akinmade noted that between 14 and 18 million were female entrepreneurs; mainly in the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) category.

He added that only 22 per cent of female entrepreneurs had access to finance against 34 per cent of their male counterparts.

Akinmade said the product provided an easy to operate and free to open savings account, with no identification required, customised debit card and dedicated sales officers.

He added that Yanga’s other unique features included special banking agents in each market location and quarterly seminars at main market locations anchored by the bank and its alliance partners.

“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.

“Therefore, the new retail product is designed to deepen its beneficial impact on MSMEs, operated by women in the mass-market retail space.

“These women have proved beyond reasonable doubt that they have the capacity to create wealth and contribute productively to the economy,” he said.

However, he added that a lot more needed to be done, starting with empowering them with the right tools to harness their entrepreneurship potential.

“Currently, they face many institutional and cultural hurdles, while starting or running their businesses.

“This is part of why we have introduced Yanga to bridge this gap while also narrowing the population of underbanked women entrepreneurs,” he said.

He furthered said the Unity Bank Yanga product would play a critical role in boosting financial inclusion.

“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.

“A key part of the Yanga product experience is micro-loans and Health Maintenance Organisations (HMO) offering.

“The micro-loan would be availed with time-tested credit policies, backed with technology-based credit scoring to help detect frivolous applications as well as reduce NPLs.

“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,” he said.

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