Diaspora members often have to manage a number of bank accounts, sometimes in multiple countries if they have an account in their country of residence and an account in their country of origin. Many times they also have to conduct complicated financial transactions such as transferring money to the accounts of family members in other countries or managing cross border businesses.
Recognizing that diaspora members have special needs when it comes to managing their finances, the pan-African institution Ecobank has begun offering its customers a new service, the African Diaspora Account. This account combines a person’s accounts in their country of origin and their country of residence with the goal of making banking and financial transactions easier for diaspora members. Some of the features that it makes available to those who sign up for the account include access to Ecobank ATMs across 30 countries, internet banking, SMS-alerts, and a relationship manager assigned to each person with an account.
Currently the service is available only to those in Africa living outside their home country, but the plan is to expand the service to those living outside of Africa as well. According to a recent article about the launch of this new product, Ecobank’s Head of Brand Communications, Adetola Oshoma, explained that the campaign is trying to relate to individuals working away from their home countries. For this reason, on Ecobank’s website, these diaspora members are repeatedly described as “heroes.” The bank is in this way hoping to recognize the important contribution of members of the diaspora.
Since this service has just launched, it will take some time to see whether members of the diaspora take it up, how useful they find it, and in what ways it could be improved. It will be interesting to follow its development and see if more banks build diaspora-targeted financial services.
As a member of the diaspora, what is the easiest way to manage your finances? Would you consider getting a special “diaspora account”? What sorts of services would you be interested in seeing provided by such an account? We are eager to hear about your experiences.