My most profound moment of aspiration was in April 2016, 35 days after I gave birth to my son, Sore (show-ray). In my effort to secure his passport at the Philadelphia passport office, I walked past the University of Pennsylvania. I stopped, took in the sight of it and with only $200 in my pocket and a return ticket to Nigeria, I nursed a daring thought, “I want Sore to come here”. That’s a $200,000 thought (at least).
When I returned home, I started putting money away in a bank but I was not empowered with information or options to build a college fund for him and in little time I realised — putting money in the bank was not working. I was looking for the best options that provided the level of service, flexibility and security I wanted for my family to make this happen, to no avail.
In the past 9 months, I have spent my time connecting with people, talking about planning. futures — the hopes, fears, everything. Most people said “building wealth is constantly on my mind but I don’t know the how”. There was a sense of fear and uncertainty about this “future”. I figured I was not alone after all.
I learned something — Aspiration is a quality that ties every Nigerian together, home and abroad.
My experience has taught me to build products with empathy by diving deep into conversations with users — so the bulk of my time I spent doing that. So, with my amazing team, these conversations helped us build something to fill this gap and empower Nigerians home and abroad to plan their futures, build wealth for it, and achieve their goals. We built a way to help people take care of themselves financially with an app that cares about them — we built Switch.
People would be able to address multiple financial needs from one place and for the first time, the diaspora community around the world will have access to the Nigerian market through one single entry point, so they can be financially connected with and invested in the motherland, Nigeria.
Here are critical roles people wished their bank in Nigeria played:
- An Aggregator — Switch has offered users the power of choice by collecting multiple financial products in Nigeria through a partnership network. People need the power of choice to make the best financial decisions tailored to their personal contexts. Users have a bank account from our parent bank and other financial products from our partners across
- Interest savings
- investments and
2. An Advocate — Who will get them the best value and the best rates on these financial products?
3. An Advisor — People feel like they need to be held through the journey of building wealth for the future.
With Switch, users will be able to —
Open a NGN bank account in minutes
- Send money home (from diaspora) by funding their Switch account with their foreign issued cards
- Send money home by an international cash deposit (people in the UK) — this is a never before seen feature in Nigerian banking
- Transfer to another Nigerian bank account at a cheaper rate
- Set up interest savings with PiggyVest at 10%
- Buy health insurance for as low as N3500 every month with Reliance HMO
- Talk directly with the Switch Team from their app
- Have conversations about financial products on an online community forum by Switch
Soon, users will be able to -
- Open domiciliary accounts in GBP, USD and EUR
- Buy more insurance products from AXA Mansard and Leadway Assurance
- Invest in real estate, agriculture and Eurobonds
- Predict net worth in the near future using predictive analytics
- Trade local Stocks with Vetiva Capital
- Use virtual and physical cards
- Do foreign currency transfers for cheaper
- Buy Treasury Bills with i-Invest and Vetiva Capital
- Do Long Term Savings with Doubble
- Group Interest Savings
- Get a loan with Specta
For the past nine months, an incredible team and I have been working on the first version of this solution, we are finally able to share it with you — https://www.switch-ng.com/
I think amazing things can happen when we give people the power to make choices that serve their aspirations — including the Nigerians in diaspora who have a strong emotional connection to home. How would you use Switch to build your financial future?