The Bank of Agriculture (BOA) and SunTrust Bank yesterday in Abuja sealed an e-banking agreement described by the Minister of Agriculture Audu Ogbe as ‘landmark’ and instrumental to the development of agricultural sector, as part of efforts at revitalising agriculture as alternative mainstay of the economy.
The agreement was signed at the Federal Ministry of Agriculture in Abuja in presence of operators in the agric sector.
Muhammad Jibrin, Managing Director/CEO of SunTrust Bank Nigeria Limited and Kabiru Adamu, the Chief Executive of Bank of Agriculture signed for their respective banks during the event which they said, would aid agric processes as employment generating venture.
The agreement, will among other things, allows the SunTrust Bank to deploy its innovative banking services and other complimentary e-banking services to simplify BOA services to its farmer customers across its 140 branches in Nigeria.
The SunTrust Bank boss said the deal will also allow it to deploy its banking platforms technology like ATM and other infrastructure for the over one million farmers in the kitty of BOA.
Jibrin Said: “We will also provide training support to the BOA staff and at the end of the day, it will be a mutually benefitting agreement to all parties.”
In his remark, Adamu the MD/Chief Executive Officer of the BOA, expressed optimism that the MoU will revolutionise agriculture in the country.
According to Mr. Adamu, both banks have agreed to bring together their mutually unique capabilities and experiences to enable BOA serve its customers to facilitate quicker penetration of the unbanked farmers.
He said the SunTrust Bank shall provide electronic payment solutions using its existing platform, including USSD, Mobile Money Service, Merchant and Settlement Accounts for e-transaction.
Speaking, Audu Ogbe, Minister of Agriculture, said he was elated by the MoU, adding that the “landmark deal will change the face of farming in the country”.
Mr. Ogbe, who regretted that the BOA has been in difficulty of the years, said he expects that the new agreement and partnership with SunTrust Bank will get it out of the woods.
“We have been trying to set up IT services at the BOA but it has been difficult. We hope that with your backing, the services will eventually come to fruition,” the Minister said.
He said plans are afoot for farmers to own 30 percent shares of the Bank of Agriculture.
“Thirty percent of BOA will be owned by farmers which will eventually makes it to be referred to as Farmers Bank like the one in China,” Mr. Ogbe said.
He added that he looks forward to achieving 5 percent interest rate for farmers, describing the current interest rate as unfriendly and disincentive.
“I think both of you, I mean BOA and SunTrust Bank) will enjoy this relationship,” he added.
It would be recalled that the SunTrust Bank commenced operation on Monday August 15, 2016.
It is an innovative, IT savvy and financial technology based bank in Nigeria. It banking services also cover various mobile and Internet banking platforms enshrined with traditional banking values.
Only recently the SunTrust Bank and Federal Government through Ministry of Finance signed an agreement for the provision of 5, 635 housing units for civil servants across the federation.