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IWD: Creditville celebrates women driving financial inclusion

By Ijeoma Thomas-Odia
12 March 2022   |   3:34 am
To commemorate this year’s International Women’s Day (IWD), Creditville, a financial service group, is spotlighting women, who are part of its growth trajectory...

FRONT ROW: Adaobi Ogueri, Seyi Erhiahwe; Rhoda Teriba; Toritseju Agoro and Senemi Atika.<br />BACK ROW: Olawumi Osinloye (right); Vivian Nwabueze; Olamide Monye; Zainab Oyebamiji; Oreoluwa Ayandele and Favour Onyeagoziri.

To commemorate this year’s International Women’s Day (IWD), Creditville, a finance service group, is spotlighting women, who are part of its growth trajectory. Having been in the business since 2013, the firm now has five subsidiaries, including Creditville loans, properties, finance, Redwood assets management and Touchgold microfinance bank.

Creditville is focused on developing and continuance of digital technology deployment, innovations to support customers, provision of
alternatives to traditional banking, financial and investment services.

In this interview with IJEOMA THOMAS-ODIA, featuring five top women in the management board of Creditville, they share insight on their roles as finance experts, while harping on the impact of financially independent women.

‘A Larger Part Of Nigerians Involved In Trades Are Women’

RHODA Teriba is the Executive Director of Finance position at Creditville Group. She is a Chartered Accountant with years of
industrial experience in Audit, Information Technology (IT) and Pension Management and Administration. She graduated with a B.Sc. and M.Sc. honours in Accountancy from the University of Lagos. She possesses a Post Graduate Diploma in International Financial Reporting Standards (Dip IFRs) ACCA UK and is also an Associate Member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) and the Chartered Institutes of Loan and Risk Management of Nigeria.

With your expertise as a chartered accountant, what innovations have you brought to Creditville Group?
I JOINED Creditville in May 2020, during the COVID-19 lockdown.

Creditville was able to work remotely during the lockdown. History has shown that accounting record keeping is very important to business success and growth.

Upon resumption, I built a new process workflow that aided sound reporting and documentation. Back then, there was more concentration on operational activities rather than financial/auditing preparation, which was rectified when I assumed my current role. I was able to correct this impression and built team spirit and team confidence, which eventually increased the level of compliance with accounting standards.

The timing of the audited financial statements conclusion period has experienced a high level of advancement since I joined. We also improved the compliance level from a regulatory perspective. An easy template was built for one of the CBN licensed subsidiaries (Touchgold MFB) for the rendition of reports/returns to avoid fines and penalties. We also improved on the filing of taxes and payments process.

Lastly, I led the project team for the successful migration of data to highly sophisticated softwares and conducted knowledge-sharing sessions (KSS) to close the knowledge gap among team members and improved their accounting skills.

How best can the nation deploy technology to drive financial inclusion and create social-economic opportunities, especially for women?
The 21st century has created a whole new business direction/operations model, and what was considered impossible a century ago is now the new normal. Financial inclusion recently hasbeen a major vocabulary of governments from developed, developing, and underdeveloped countries. The advancement in technology coupled withinternet accessibility has brought financial services to the click of a button.

The idea behind financial inclusion is to provide financial services that cut across transactions, payments, savings, credit, and insurance, which should be affordable, appropriate, and timely.

Nigeria has a huge population, which remains a disadvantage, because many are still excluded financially due to many factors; I may not be at liberty to fully enumerate. However, some of these factors can be turned into opportunities if well-articulated.

A larger part of Nigerians involved in trades are women and at the same time not well educated enough to navigate through some of the platforms, which will aid their transition into the financial inclusion space. Furthermore, localising technology will have an overwhelming impact on the socio-economic growth of the nation and also cause an astronomical increase in the number of banked and bankable Nigerians especially women.

For example, having these technological solutions in local dialects will increase participation and eventual adoption, which will in turn have a positive impact on our GDP. At Creditville, one of our majorgoals is to close this gap by providing a tailor-made service that meets the demands of our customers. Our innovation team is working on tools to make our APP accessible to all users, irrespective of your level of education or sophistication.

‘Women Should Educate Themselves About Money Management’
SEYI Erhiahwe is the Chief Investment Officer at Creditville Group.

She graduated from the Obafemi Awolowo with a Bachelor’s Degree in English and obtained a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from the University of Lagos. With over 13 years’ experience, her competencies cut across Portfolio Management, Sales, Business Strategy and Stakeholder Management.

Your expertise cuts across various competences in the finance sector, how are you able to hone your skills?
THROUGH the course of my professional career, I have experienced different aspects of the Nigerian financial system and been privileged to work with some of the brightest minds in the industry. When you work with certain high-level professionals, they pass on some of their knowledge to you and you will definitely imbibe their work ethics.

Secondly, I invest in myself a lot. A career in finance requires you to possess a set of industry-related and interpersonal skills. I
have taken several professional courses that have helped me sharpen my skills. Before starting a new role, I take time to review the basic skills for the job position, then assess myself to see if I tick all the boxes. And then proceed to take training to level up in the areas that I’m lacking in order to provide myself with the best opportunity for success.

Lastly, I apply the finance skills that I learned from the business world to my daily life. I set weekly or monthly budgets, keep track of expenses, and conduct assessments on my future financial stability based on my current spending habits.

What investment tips do you have for women who are struggling to gain financial independence?
In the world we live in today, being financially free as a woman is no longer optional, but a basic requirement for everyone. It doesn’t matter if you’re a stay-at-home mum or a working professional; you need to be financially independent. You will be in a better position to take care of your loved ones and follow your aspirations if your finances are in order.

Right off the bat, before I share investment tips, women need to learn how to adopt a savings culture. They should set aside a specified amount for savings when creating a monthly budget; I recommend having three to six months’ worth of spending. Such funds can come in handy in the most difficult of circumstances, such as a health crisis, a job loss, or a family emergency. Women should educate themselves about money management and investing as much as they can, then seek out professional help and advice.

At Creditville, we offer various financial services such as asset management, wealth management, loans, leasing, and many more.

Our financial experts can help women to assess their risk appetite then provide various investment options based on that assessment. Women andpeople, in general, should not jump into any investment scheme without
proper professional counsel. Lastly, women should be more involved in making retirement and investment decisions and rely less on their husbands and children. It’s great if they help, but make sure you have Plan B in case they don’t.

‘Women Should Be Aggressive About Their Personal Development’
TORITSEJU Agoro is currently the Government and Regulatory Relations Manager at Creditville Group. She is a top-skilled Governance, Risk and Compliance Professional and Legal Practitioner with a solid track record of seamless corporate and commercial practice.

Agoro is passionate about professional development and has regularly undertaken several local and international trainings and certifications over the years to boost her technical expertise.

You are passionate about professional development and with your key role at Creditville, what has been the impact of your activities?
AS the Company Secretary and Head of Legal of Creditville Group, I am responsible for effectively managing the legal, governance, and compliance affairs of the Group’s business. Knowledge gained from consistently building professional capacity has armed me with the tools to be strategic in my daily responsibilities, ask relevant questions to better understand the company’s strategy, make smarter and better business decisions and given me the confidence and capability to engage with the business and its stakeholders.

Our vision at the Creditville Group is to be Africa’s most reliable financial services provider and I recognise the risks that changing legal and regulatory requirements pose to the attainment of this vision. Combining innovative techniques gained from my professional development and experience garnered over the years, I have been able to ensure the company keeps up to date with its legal and regulatory obligations, mitigated the risks of non-compliance, deployed an effective horizon scanning solution and ensure our staff appreciate the importance of compliance to all regulations, thus placing our business on a sustainable path.

How can we get more women to become successful and rise to the top as you have done? What tips do you have for younger women?
By encouraging women to be responsible for, and aggressive about their personal development and not wait on their organisations for their career growth. This way, more women can confidently showcase their expertise in the right way when the occasion arises, whether by leading interesting work projects, getting involved in trainings, speaking opportunities etc, thus raising their profile. I also encourage women to regularly review their career or business paths and consider how it aligns with their long-term plans.

We need to regularly network amongst ourselves, build each other up by mentoring or sponsoring fellow women so together ‘We can break the bias’. We should engage regularly with women-focused initiatives in order to get first-hand information on high-level opportunities.

My final advice to the younger women is a valuable lesson I have recently imbibed, focus on your circle of influence (things you can control, change and influence) rather than your circle of concern (things you have no control over), this way, you are able to make an impact which allows you grow your influence and set you up for higher responsibilities.

‘To Succeed As A Woman, You Must Create Exclusive Timing For Your Career And Family’
SENAMI Atika is the Head, Marketing and Communications at Creditville Group. A Creative Arts graduate of the University of Lagos, who later took a course in Strategic Marketing at the prestigious 02 Academy in Lagos, she has a well-rounded skill set in brand management.

What informed your decision to focus on Strategic Marketing, and how has CreditVille helped you evolve?
WHAT is a business without Brand, Marketing, and Communications? Well, back in the university, I had a part-time job where I had to market certain products, and every time I was able to convince anyone to buy a product or take an action towards purchasing, I felt intense and immense fulfillment. This was when I discovered my knack for growing businesses and of course, a passion for innovative thinking, success, and creativity. After which I furthered studying Strategic Marketing at the prestigious 02 Academy, which perfected my skills.

Creditville is a place for anyone looking for a growth opportunity, especially at the leadership level. Although I had been saddled with various leadership responsibilities in the past, but working with Creditville helped refine and redefine what leadership means. In addition, the company has also provided so many growth opportunities ranging from mentorship to training, networking opportunities, etc.

Every employee is a priority to the management, which is quite rare to come by. It’s been an honour being part of this prestigious organisation and I look forward to doing greater things.

What advice do you have for women who are seeking to balance their career roles and family life, what tips do you have for them?
Firstly, create exclusive timing for both parties; Your career and personal/family life must get adequate attention. For example, dedicate 8 am-5 pm for work, while after work hours remain strictly for the family. There are times work might spill over, but do not make it a habit.

Secondly, ensure you spell out how much you love your job to your partner, and carry him along every step of the way. The more information they have, the more they understand your passion and remain understanding irrespective. Lastly, ensure you do what you love, because the moment you’re frustrated at work, it will affect your attitude at home, which might sometimes result in both your job and family suffering.

‘Finding The Right People, Ensuring Retention Is Key To Organisational Growth’
ADAOBI Ogueri is the Human Resources Manager at Creditville Group. She has over a decade industrial experience in Human Capital Management and Talent Acquisition; Health and Safety; Compensation, Benefit and Performance Management. She holds a Masters Degree in Business Administration from the University of Wales, Swansea and a Bachelor’s Degree in Human Nutrition from the University of Ibadan. She is a member of the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) and a certified Professional in Human Resources international (PHRi).

With your years of experience in Human Capital Management and Talent Acquisition, Health, how has it enhanced your job at CreditVille?
As the head of Human resources, I am responsible for effectively managing the human capital and talent acquisition of the group. People drive organisations; finding the right people and ensuring retention is key to organisational growth and success. Knowledge gained from consistently building professional capacity has equipped me with the tools to be strategic in my daily responsibilities as well as implement the people strategy of the group.

You wear many hats, how do you combine them including family life and still be at your best?
First of all, I am grateful to have the right support systems both in my personal life and professional life. For working professionals, wearing multiple hats has to do with balance, getting your career off the ground requires a fierce commitment to your organisation, the ability to seamlessly and quickly switch between critical tasks, and a degree of balance that everyone should master.

You have to find time for your family and the things you love. I try as much as possible to leave work at work and focus on my family when I get home. We go the extra mile in my home to create family bonding activities at least once a month. These cherished moments with them actually refresh me and melt all the work stress away, leaving me recharged and ready for my next task.