Keystone Bank opens Special Savings Account for Apprentices, to offer SMEs N3M grant

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Keystone Bank Limited, one of Nigeria’s leading retail lenders, has launched a special savings account for business owners tagged: ‘Keystone Apprentice Settlement Savings Account.’

According to the bank, the new account also known as ‘Oga Account’ which was formally launched on Wednesday in Lagos, is ‘aimed at meeting the needs of its customers across Nigeria involved in the apprenticeship system.

The lender noted that the account is a purpose-driven savings account, with zero account maintenance charges, that allows customers who are entrepreneurs, popularly known as ‘Oga’ to save conveniently and seamlessly towards building up funds to settle their apprentice/servant upon the completion of their service.

Speaking at the launch, Olaniran Olayinka, the managing director/chief executive officer at Keystone Bank, represented by Helen Maiyegun, the Regional Head, Region 1, Lagos and West Directorate of Keystone Bank, said “It is our tradition at the Bank to consistently deliver products and services that support the needs and aspirations of retail businesses and SMEs, which are the economic drivers of growing and emerging economies globally.

“In furtherance of this commitment, we are currently providing capacity training, access to investment and financial grants of three million naira each, to Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in our Keystone Start Up Advantage Program aimed at equipping small business owners with requisite skills and funds required to navigate the infancy stage of their business existence,” Maiyegun further said.

Speaking on the features and benefits of the savings plan, Anayo Nwosu, divisional head, retail, SME and value chain at Keystone Bank noted that the plan is positioned to speak to the lifestyle needs of the bank’s customers to encourage them to save towards a goal and build financial discipline.

He added that the product solves a market need that is as old as the Bible, stressing that apprenticeship is an African culture.

“The apprenticeship model is a way of thinking about how to finance and invest in human resource entrepreneurial activities to promote economic growth, stability, and sustainable livelihood. This approach has a reputation for being highly effective, so much so that the Harvard Business Review recently decided to include it as a case study.

The plan is designed for all classes of individuals within the Low-Income Persons (LIPs) or High-Income Persons (HIPs) and has a minimum opening balance and daily operating balance of N5,000.

A specific lump sum is targeted at the point of entry by the customer and progressive savings are made monthly until the set target is achieved.

The savings could be made monthly or at any time until the set target is achieved and as an incentive for actualizing their goals, the Oga Account offers higher interest earnings than the regular accounts.

“The plan also allows cash, cheques and dividend warrant lodgments (cheques and dividend warrants, subject to allowable daily deposit of N2m with respect to the CBN policy. Customers can also access up to 50 percent of the amount saved as cash-backed credit at 14 percent p.a. and one percent management fees,” Nwosu explained.

Some of the customers, who spoke at the event, commended the bank for the initiatives and promised to key into it.

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