Herbert Onyewumbu Wigwe, Herbert Wigwe, Nigerian Today

Every year, since 2008, Diamond Bank, which morphed into Access Bank early this year, has rewarded its customers with the opportunity to lift themselves financially through its DiamondExtra scheme. Some won brand new cars, cash prizes and even a salary scheme where the beneficiary gets N100,000 every month for 20 years.

DiamondXtra was formerly known as ‘SavingsXtra’, but in December 2013, it was renamed. Since its launch, over 15,000 customers have been rewarded. But Access Bank is going one step ahead for the 11th season of the scheme, which started rewarding customers in March, with the addition of two new categories: the senior citizens category and loyalty category for customers who have stayed with the bank for at least five years or more.

“Every quarter, we will be giving out prizes to 45 senior citizens as we are making sure that we do not just look after the emerging youth but we look after the population that guide the youth,” Head, Product insights and Capabilities Access Bank Plc, Robert Giles, said.

“DiamondXtra is not going away, it is here to stay and so customers should not panic as the corporate merger between Access and Diamond banks will ensure more accessibility of products to more customers.”

How the Scheme Works
Basically, a customer simply needs to open a DiamondXtra account with just N5,000.00. However, the more multiples of N5,000 a customer saves, the higher their chances of winning at the monthly and quarterly draws.

At the monthly draw, 10 customers have the chance to win N1 million each while the quarterly draw includes the star prize of N100,000 salary paid every month for the next 20 years, education allowance for five years, rent for a year, and cash prizes ranging from 100,000 to N1million.

The bank says the scheme helps it to to create and add value to its customers.

“This is the 11th edition and the product has been rewarding Nigerians. It is something that we think it is important as every little thing you do help,” Executive Director, Retail Banking, Access Bank Plc, Victor Etuokwu, said. “There is no way a bank can add value to the economy if it does not do things like this, so the products of a bank must add value and DiamondXtra adds value.

“We want every Nigerian to move to the DiamondXtra initiative so that they can partake in the goodies which the product brings. The only way companies remain profitable is by creating value, so as long as we keep doing this, our customer base will increase and this initiative will not affect our bottom-line”.

DiamondXtra is an interest yielding hybrid account which allows deposit of both cash and third party cheques. Hybrid means a combination of both savings and current account features.

‘It is Real’
One of the winners at the DiamondXtra Season 10 draw was a Nigerian nurse based in Maryland, USA, Mr. Bede Nnebedum, who won a brand new car.

“When I was initially contacted and informed that I had won a brand new car, I couldn’t believe it,” he told journalists at a presentation ceremony held in Lagos. “I doubted it until last week Thursday when I was invited by the branch manager where I opened my account for the prize presentation”.

At one of the Season 9 draws, a trader from Abia, Raphael Ogugua, won a brand new car. During the presentation at the Diamond Bank main branch Umuahia, Abia State on February 16, 2018, Ogugua came out of the car and exclaimed, “It is real; it is real. I am the owner of a car”. He then sprawled on the bonnet of the glittering car still shouting in excitement.

Ogugua, who had not owned a car before, said that when he got the first call informing him that he had won a car last December he dismissed it as one of those scam messages. However, he said that when another call came three days later, the truth sank in.

A businessman, Samuel Ebu, also could not hide his joy, when he became a million naira richer through the scheme. “I feel so good and excited to have N1 million with Access Bank and I have had a DiamondXtra account for three years now and since I started banking with the bank, everything has been perfect, no complaints whatsoever as they are reliable,” he said during the presentation.

“I had initially thought their call was a mistake because I did not think I could win but here I am, a winner of N1Million.”

More Winners Recount Joyous Shock
Maureen Ekwunife was a widow, who had recently lost her husband. But, less than one month after she opened an account with Diamond Bank, she won N1 million. “I was very happy the day I was informed that I won the promo. This is just like a miracle, because I’ve never been this lucky before,” she said. “Since the day I was announced the winner, many of my friends have opened accounts with Diamond Bank. It’s really a remarkable day in my life”.

Mr. Ugwuozor Tochukwu Emmanuel from the Port Harcourt Road Branch, Onitsha was the winner of a brand new SUV car in 2016. He initially conveyed doubts about the authenticity when contacted but was eventually convinced that it was genuine. He expressed his gratitude and could not contain his excitement as he burst into his native dialect to ask when he would receive his prize and if he could start coming immediately to pick it up.

Catherine Onwusonye, a businesswoman based in Abuja, was rewarded with the DiamondXtra star prize, a Hyundai Accent car, during the Season 10 DiamondXtra Regional Prize Presentation Ceremony which held in Lagos.

Shortly after the prize presentation, Onwusonye told journalists that she thought it was a joke when she received the call informing her that she had won the star prize of the draw.

“I have never won anything free in my life before and I never expected that a new car would be the first free thing I would win. I want to encourage other customers to open a DiamondXtra account, you can never tell when it will be your turn.” she said.

Still Winning and Smiling
The Season 11 edition of DiamondXtra is already underway and more people have been added to its long list of winners.

Last June, Mrs Nnenna Chukwu was the star prize winner, winning N100, 000 per month for 20 years in the salary for life category. Chukwu could not hide her excitement, explaining that she had opened her DiamondXtra account a long time ago and was not expecting to win.

In April, one of the winners was Chukwuemeka Emmanuel, a businessperson based in Lagos. He had been operating his DiamondXtra account for five years.

“I am filled with joy today and I encourage Nigerians to tap into the rewarding scheme. When I received a call that I have won N1million, I did not believe it, but now that the bank’s executives have presented a cheque, I have no reason to doubt them. I thank God and thank the management of Access Bank for this great initiative. My advice to all out there is to go and open a DiamondXtra account and save to win too”.