To our Lemonade community,
It’s day one for us as usual. We haven’t scratched the surface of what we like to call cross-border banking which means the ability for Africans to seamlessly access financial services from anywhere in the world without any hassle or regardless of where they are from.
Nobody should be denied access to participate in the world economy because of their circumstances or background. Our goal at Lemonade Finance is to democratize finance for Africans in the diaspora and yesterday was a step back for our nascent community.
What happened yesterday.
First here’s an overview of the mechanics—or the plumbing—behind your transfers and how we are still able to support you in spite of the restrictions on direct deposits imposed by the Central Bank of Nigeria last year.
After funding your account with CAD via our Canadian banking partner, we then ask you to tell us who you’re sending the money to, along with their local bank details.
Ordinarily, our system links local bank accounts in Nigeria directly to our system. So we can send directly to a Nigerian bank account from our system by sending an instruction to our system to make a direct transfer to the bank account you provided in under 10 minutes. But because of the restriction imposed we have had to innovate around these government regulations in a way that doesn’t expose us to any sanctions and here is how we do it.
We created and registered a new holding corporation in Nigeria as a legal business entity.
The new company is unaffiliated with Lemonade Finance and is licensed as a Microfinance Bank to do business in Nigeria.
When you send money to Nigeria, we receive your CAD in Canada
We then provide the equivalent of the amount in USD as cash to the Microfinance bank thereby meeting the CBN requirement for cash pickup.
The cash is then picked up by a Lemonade Finance operations personnel and deposited with our banking partners.
Our system receives the notification and then instructs the banking partner to make a direct deposit to the Nigerian bank account.
It's important to note that all of these processes take place in under 10 - 15 minutes, therefore, removing any friction between you, our dear customer, and the destination bank. By doing this we have solved a lot of problems for our customers — safety, convenience, and no-fee transfers.
But yesterday, our Nigeria banking partners requested that we immediately hold off on transfers while they fixed a liquidity issue to allow them to continue to support cash pickups by our operations team hence why we had to immediately halt all transfers. This problem is now fixed and restrictions have been lifted on transfers on Lemonade Finance. Transfers are now much faster and should deliver in less than 5 minutes.
Going forward and to ensure this problem doesn’t occur again.
We will support USD cash pickups by your recipients as from next week.
We will also provide support for direct transfers to USD bank accounts from next week.
We will assist our banking partners to provide more cash liquidation ahead of projections.
Better projections on required cash liquidity required for transfers using a multiplier projection.
Our goal is to make cross-border banking easy for Africans in the diaspora starting with cross-border remittances. We will continue to work as hard as we can so we can continue to serve our customers for the long term.
Rest assured, our position remains firm—we stand with our customers and will continue to provide you with the resources you need to support your family and friends back home.
Thanks for your patience and for trying out Lemonade Finance. It's day one for us as always.
Lemonade Finance Team.