By Amin Kef Sesay
Amidst the ravages of COVID-19, the United Bank For Africa (UBA) is not deterred, as on Friday 10th July 2020, it launched its latest products: the Kiddies and Next-Gen Accounts. These accounts are geared towards encouraging parents and youths to embark on savings.
Speaking during the launch, the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of UBA in Sierra Leone, Chinedu Obeta, disclosed that the launching of these new products is to ensure that no one is left behind and foster financial inclusion. Both products cater for people from age zero to 25 years. The Kiddies Account embraces kids from age zero to 13 years, whilst the Next-Gen Account caters for young people between the ages of 18 to 25 years old.
Chinedu Obeta observed that the African tradition observes ceremonies like naming of a child after birth and during such ceremonies well-wishers donate cash as well as other items to the parents of the newborn baby.
It is the desire of the bank to encourage parents of kids to open a savings account for their kids’ future, instead of using the money on other issues. This act by the parents will further ensure the encouragement of kids from those early years to start saving money. He noted that there are many ceremonies and occasions during which financial gifts are given to kids from friends and relatives like: Christening, birthdays, etc. He is of the view that if parents are determined to see a better future for their kids, they will embrace this Kiddies Account product of the bank.
On the Next-Gen product, Chinedu Obeta said that it is intended to encourage youths to learn how to save for the future. This Account caters for young people between the ages of 18 to 25 years. Both accounts, the MD said, have beautiful benefits for all account holders. He then gave a brief history of the UBA. The United Bank for Africa (UBA) has been in existence for some 70 years and has offices in over 20 countries, with its Headquarters in Nigeria and it is the only Sub-Saharan Bank with presence in the United States of America, UK and France, he disclosed.
UBA came to Sierra Leone in 2008 and now has 7 branches. Today in digital products, UBA is leading and at the forefront of bringing exciting products that attract people and enhance their participation in banking services. He encouraged parents to develop the habit of saving and embracing these products.
Making a powerpoint presentation on the two accounts, Joseph Kemoi, IT expert of the bank, took the Press through the stages of opening an account in respect of the two products and the benefits account holders will derive. He disclosed that the opening amount of the Kiddies’ Account is Le200, 000 and parents should produce birth certificates of their children, passport pictures of the persons opening the Accounts for the kids plus copies of utility bills that are not more than 3 months old. The children stand to benefit from scholarships and thirteen month bonuses, depending on the criterion of no withdrawal from the account for 12 months. Interest of 3.75% will be given to every account on a monthly basis, provided there are not above three withdrawals per month from the account.
The Next-Gen, Joseph Kemoi said, is an account designed for the next generation, meaning upcoming young people leaving school, in tertiary institutions. They are being encouraged to cultivate the habit of saving for the future. The account will offer them the opportunity to become interns in the bank, own personal debit cards and engage in free mobile banking. All the procedures for opening this account are similar to that of the Kiddies, with the notable difference of the opening amount of Le250, 000 and the absence of a birth certificate.
The Kiddies Account is being opened by a parent or guardian for a child, whilst the Next-Gen is being opened by the particular youth for him or herself. In concluding, Kemoi stated that these products will benefit all holders of such accounts as their benefits are unprecedented in the history of banking in the country.
The ceremony was climaxed by a question and answer session.