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Deepening women's financial inclusion: Diamond Bank partners with Women's World Banking, MTN to develop global model for digital financial services

Diamond Bank, in collaboration with ICT company, MTN and global nonprofit; Women's World Banking, is unveiling the next phase of the Diamond Yello account through an innovative partnership aimed at deepening the financial inclusion of women in Nigeria.

With support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, this partnership seeks to build understanding of what it takes to make digital financial services work for low-income women. The Diamond Yello account will be developed as a global model for expanding women's access to and usage of digital financial services through simplified steps in account opening and banking transactions, using mobile phones.

Diamond Bank's CEO, Uzoma Dozie, stated that the Bank is very passionate about the financial wellbeing of women, noting that the strategic focus of this project is to enhance the financial lifestyle of women by providing convenient mobile banking services.

"Diamond Yello is an account you open without the documentation and other rigours associated with traditional accounts. We are aware that the future of financial inclusion is digital, and we aim to use this product to bring banking to everyone no matter your income, where you live or the type of mobile handset you are using," Dozie said.

Diamond Yello, first launched in Nigeria in 2014, is a mobile-based bank account opened instantly through the custome's mobile phone in a few simple steps and is available to MTN's over 63 million subscribers and potential subscribers. Industry insiders hail Diamond Yello account as a unique financial product that helps not only to optimize the use of mobile phones in carrying out full banking services, but also serves as an effective means of spreading financial literacy in urban, semi urban and remote areas.

Research by Women's World Banking has shown that women are inherent savers, managing to save an average of 10 to 15 percent of their earnings despite low and often unpredictable incomes. According to Mary Ellen Iskenderian, President and CEO of Women's World Banking, Diamond Yello, is a convenient digital banking product that offers a solution to the myriad challenges confronting low-income women who find it difficult accessing a safe place to save due to mobility and time constraints.

"We are thrilled to continue our valued partnership with Diamond Bank to use technology to bring vital financial services closer to Nigerian women. This support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation gives us the opportunity to work with Diamond Bank and MTN to build on their innovative product and ensure that Diamond Yello helps women throughout Nigeria achieve their savings goals and build a brighter future," said Iskenderian.

Iskenderian also noted that the collaboration will enable Women's World Banking to conduct in-depth research to better understand the barriers that Nigerian women face when accessing financial services, adding that they will work with Diamond Bank and MTN to develop strategies to break down these barriers, including educational marketing approaches, training programs for banking agents, mobile tools and other product features. The lessons will be used as a model to foster the expansion of women's access to and usage of digital financial services around the world.

According to Ferdi Moolman, MTN Nigeria's CEO, ICT is universally recognised as a significant enabler of socio-economic growth and MTN is honoured to play a part in numerous ways, one of which is this partnership. A key strategic objective of the partnership is not only to stimulate and expand women's access and usage of formal banking but also to help reduce the biting effect of poverty using technology.

"Technology is a tool that should make life easier for people, especially low-income women who face many challenges with accessing formal banking services. Our partnership aligns with MTN's overarching strategy to contribute to building a more vibrant economy, powered by technology. This is what underpins our business operations at MTN & enriching lives in line with our brand essence and acting as a catalyst for Nigeria's socio-economic growth and development".

Only MTN subscribers have access to a Diamond Yello account, which is activated by dialing *710# on any MTN line. Currently, over 6.2 million Diamond Yello account holders are serviced by over 26,000 agents. Benefits include easy access to the Diamond Yello account holders community, full banking services with interest on account balances and access to funds transfer, bill payment and airtime purchase via application from the subscribe's mobile device on demand.

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