Dalex SWIFT takes flight!
...reliable channel to save is finally here
Words and phrases such as ‘innovative’, ‘forward-looking’ and ‘apt for our time’, were used to describe Dalex Finance’s new savings and investments product, Safe Wise Investment For Tomorrow (SWIFT).
SWIFT is aimed at promoting savings among the masses and deepening financial inclusion.
With resounding endorsements from Edith Dankwa, CEO of the authoritative Business and Financial Times (B&FT); renowned economist Dr. Kwesi Botchwey; Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Nana Oye Lithur; Charlotte Baidoo, CEO of Women World Bank (WWB) Ghana; and Eli Hini, Head of MTN Mobile Money, this new product can best be described as revolutionary.
Amidst the speeches and presentations to officially outdoor Dalex SWIFT, there was an air of optimism that, finally, the time has come and a major step is being taken to deepen much-needed financial inclusion in the country.
SWIFT, according to Managing Director of Dalex Finance Kenneth Kwamina Thompson, is a financial product that seeks to create an investment product for the Ghanaian mass market that will encourage regular saving and improve financial inclusion.
“The greatest motivation has been the desire to create a channel that allows Ghanaians to save because saving itself is good. We all need to save, and of course we will be able to mobilise funds at a rate that is cheaper than what you currently get from traditional choices.”
He added that another aim of introducing SWIFT is to contribute to development of the country, families and individuals by encouraging the saving and investment habit; provide a new product that uses the mobile phone to give everyone an investment and loan account; and to pay investment returns at rates significantly higher than offered by commercial banks.
Touching on the fact that Dalex Finance is a well-run institution, regulated by the Bank of Ghana and currently number 16 on the Ghana Club 100, Mr. Thompson added that SWIFT can be trusted by customers.
Advantages of SWIFT
In a presentation to throw further light on the product, Joe Jackson -- Head of Operations at Dalex Finance -- said SWIFT is a contributory investment scheme that allows the deposit of a target amount as frequently as may be desired; i.e. daily, weekly, monthly, or ad hoc.
Contributions can be any amount starting from GH¢1.00 while the customer’s phone numbe becomes the investment account number. Also, SWIFT contributions can be made through over 20,000 points including mobile money agents, post offices, and bank branches in addition to the unlimited convenience of a mobile phone.
Mr. Jackson added that SWIFT invests the contributions made in any 30-day period and pays a competitive compound interest from month to month until maturity of the investment.
What makes SWIFT stand out from other investment products, according to Mr. Jackson, is the competitive returns it provides on investment. “The return on your investment is higher than the bank, and you get interest on your interest earned.”
Ghana lags behind when it comes to deepening financial inclusion. According to the 2014 Financial Inclusion Data/Global Findex Database, in Ghana only 34.61percent of adults have bank accounts while the GDP per capita income stands at US$4,129.
But peers like Nigeria, Botswana, Algeria, Kenya, Namibia and South Africa have 44.17, 49.24, 50.47, 55.20, 58.06 and 68.76 percent of adults having bank accounts respectively -- while the GDP per capita of these countries currently stand at US$6,031, US$16,036, US$14,259, US$3,084, US$10,765 and US$13,046 respectively.
But things are looking up, especially for mobile money operators -- and SWIFT will serve as another booster in attaining total financial inclusion. The patronage of mobile money continues to gain momentum, as for the third year running value of transactions saw an astronomical jump -- from GH¢2.4billion as at 2013 to about GH¢11.6billion in 2014, according to the central bank.
The value of mobile money transactions when put into perspective is more than a third of the total deposit liabilities of the 28 banks as at the end of last year, and shows the vital role telecom companies are playing to advance the central bank’s cashlite economy agenda -- and also to ensure that the push for more financial inclusion is brought into the hands of millions of Ghanaians.
Guest-speaker at the launch of SWIFT, Dr. Kwesi Botchwey -- the prominent economist and Chairman of the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC) -- lauded the introduction of Dalex SWIFT and described the move as “clearly a huge step forward in achieving financial inclusion, especially for the poor”.
He added that the product will become the crucial interface between easier money mobility and real mobilisation and investment, which after all is the crux of financial inclusion. It is in this sense, according to Dr. Botchwey, that Dalex SWIFT is an innovative product and its success is going to depend crucially on how it delivers on the promise of attractive and competitive interest rates.
He called for protection of the platform against all fraud forms and duplicity. He was glad to hear that Dalex Finance has already taken steps to safeguard the platform and protects its integrity.
“Once mobile money is to succeed in promoting financial inclusion, users must have trust in the safety and integrity of the system. GH¢1 means a great deal more to the poor than the rich, and GH¢1 lost can cause a great deal of havoc. As with every aspect of financial mobilisation, confidence will be the key if the SWIFT product is great. I will do better and invest because I have confidence that you will succeed.”
CEO of B&FT Edith Dankwa, in her remarks, noted that Dalex SWIFT is indeed an innovation. In her endorsement of the product, she said: “We will all sign on to Dalex SWIFT and I pledge my support; and all my children will sign on to it. We take coins for granted but from what this product has on offer, we can save a lot of money even by giving our coins away.”
She took the opportunity to encourage Ghanaians to sign onto the product because of the competitive interest rates, security and simplicity the product offers.
“We will spread and share the word to our friends, family and the country in general. If we want to see our country develop, then let’s put our savings together to save our nation and develop our country so we enjoy staying, working and living in Ghana.”
Mrs. Dankwa urged financial institutions to simplify their Know Your Customer (KYC) rules and regulations. “You should do away with the numerous requirements to opening a bank account.”
Nana Oye Lithur, Minister for Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection, said SWIFT’s use of ICT-based financial products and making SWIFT the preserve of the poor and every single person in Ghana makes it an innovation.
“The concept of consolidating today’s investment but using contemporary approaches such as ICT provides us with a firm foundation and at the same time a very powerful spring-board to move in tandem with the fast-evolving ICT age which we live in.”
She applauded the fact that the product is also targeted at women who contribute significantly to the financial system. “We urge all women to also invest and save with Dalex SWIFT. We would also like Dalex to bear in mind that we have national data protection laws, and it needs to ensure customers have their financial and biographical and investment information carefully secured.”
In congratulating Dalex Finance for the introduction of this product, Mrs. Lithur noted with excitement that this product is going to successful.
Eli Hini, Head of MTN Mobile Money, added that MTN is really very excited about this partnership and innovative product. “We are looking at maximising the potential of mobile money to deepen financial inclusion. SWIFT cannot be coming at a better time, when we believe that it actually feeds into that purpose of opportunity to maximise the potential of mobile money.”
He sees SWIFT as the answer to deepening financial inclusion. “I think the partnership will go a long way to drive the service, and the agents who are all over the country will provide opportunities for customers to access the service; and most importantly your mobile phone will be your account number and be easy to remember.”
Touching on the beauty of mobile money, he said one can access accounts, check balances, investment growth and track savings from the same mobile phone. “There is nothing to worry about, and therefore an opportunity to go out there and invest for the future.”
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Dalex Finance and Leasing Company Limited (Dalex Finance) is a Ghanaian non-bank financial institution, licensed and regulated by the Bank of Ghana and has been since 2006.
At Dalex Finance we strive to make a genuine difference in the lives of our clients, an attitude that inspires the way we work together. Many of our corporate and individual customers have grown to trust our proven ability to deliver relevant and efficient services to solve their short and long term financial needs.
We have an uncompromisingly customer-focused working environment that is supportive, friendly and team-oriented.
Our key objective is sustained growth in shareholder value; achieved by ever-increasing revenue and profitability.
Dalex Finance has a team of high caliber and knowledgeable personnel with diverse skills and experience whom we continually invest in via technology and training to keep us on par with the best in the industry globally. We have offices in Accra, Takoradi, Kumasi, Tamale, Ho, Sunyani, Koforidua, Akatsi, Wa, Bolgatanga and Sales Points in 20 locations nationwide.
We comprehensively review the relevance of our products and services to ensure they meet the needs of our existing clients as well as develop attractive and competitive packages for potential clients. Dalex currently offers Salary Loans, Business Loans, Investments and Fleet Management Services.