BoI offers digital products to boost SME development

By The Citizen
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The Bank of Industry on Tuesday has released five digital applications that will enhance development among the over 2,500 Small and Medium Enterprises, that are linked to the bank's website.

The digital solutions, which will address SMEs' challenges in the digital age, are expected to also promote entrepreneurial business in the areas of funding and business exposure among SMEs.

The products include SME Mobile App, SME Accounting Application Software, Online Loan Application Portal, Loan Application Tracking System, and SME Customer Portal.

Announcing the initiative at a press conference in Lagos, the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of the bank, Mr. Rasheed Olaoluwa, said the products were tailored to address new demand for digital solutions, occasioned by the increase in the number of Internet users in the country, which include SME operators.

'At BoI, we have repositioned our systems, processes and services to take advantage of this new digital and mobile world, in order to offer our customers the benefits of speed, mobility and convenience that come with it,' Olaoluwa said.

He added that the bank, in March this year, upgraded its banking application from Equinox to a more robust version called Rubikon, in order to serve its customers better.

Demonstrating how the Mobile Apps works, the Group Head, Information and Strategy of the bank, Mr. Thomas Akphororo, said the objective was to provide members of the public, especially entrepreneurs, easy access to information on their mobile phones, about the key activities and products of the bank, as well as how to avail themselves of the bank's services.

'The mobile app gives overview of the bank and what it stands for, the category of customers the bank could assist, as well as the list of the bank's accredited business development service providers, with download features. It also provides news about events concerning the bank and the success stories of the bank and its customers,' Akphororo said.

Giving details of the SME Accounting Application, Mr. Philips Ikhile of Kinesis Consulting Limited, partner to BoI, said the application would enable users to keep proper accounting records of their business transactions, and generate requisite financial statements, without employing the services of an accountant or chartered accountant.

'SAApp software is user-friendly, with simplified menu-driven accounting tool that does not require formal accounting knowledge by the entrepreneur. It helps to raise balance sheets, which reports on the SMEs assets, liabilities and ownership equity, as well as profit and loss accounts, and cash flow,' Ikhile said.

'One important feature of SAApp is the integrity of the financial statements generated on it,' Ikhile added.

The solution is preloaded in a branded flash drive and sells for N20,000 but the first 100 SMEs to purchase it will get it at a discounted rate of N10,000.

With SAApp, simple financial statements can be generated simply by imputing data in respect of daily transactions such as sales, expenditures, as well as sundry other payments and receipts.

The Online Loan Application portal was developed for convenience of SME customers, so that they do not have to physically come to the bank to submit loan applications. With the portal, SME customers can apply for loan within the stipulated maximum limit.

The Loan Application Tracking System is an Information Technology tool, developed to further enhance customer service delivery to SME loan applicant. The tool enables customers to obtain online, real-time, updates on loan requests submitted to the bank through an innovative loan status tracker on the bank's website. Agency report