In order to bring financial services to about 50 million unbanked Nigerians, the Central Bank of Nigeria, Deposit Money Banks, certified mobile money operators and super agents have agreed to roll out 500,000 Shared Agent Networks. The agreement involves a rapid roll-out of these super agents within the next two years.
How Would this Project Work?
“Agency banking” is a financial model where easy-to-access “agents” (individuals in the community) process customer transactions on behalf of licensed banking institutions. It is a dispersed, and more mobile nature of ensuring deepened financial inclusion for for the unbanked.
Considering the fact that banking today is not limited to banks halls only, several non-banking institutions from unrelated areas such as telecoms are stepping into this space by providing financial products and mobile wallets products (e.g Airtel mobile money). They also have a lot to gain from this partnership.
Already, about 10 Mobile Money Operators (MMOs) and super agents are expected start deploying financial services agents’ outlets. Some of the prequalified CBN-licensed operators include Capricorn Digital Limited, Cellulant Nigeria Limited, eTranzact Limited, Innovectives Limited, Inlaks Limited, Interswitch Financial Inclusion Services Limited, Paga Tech Limited and Unified Payments Nigeria Plc.
Would this Initiative Encourage the Use of Banking Services?
The Banks have come together in Nigeria to launch a huge shared agent network reaching every corner of Nigeria. This will go a long way to closing the financial inclusion gap from 46% included to 80% icluded by 2020 @DiamondBankNG @womensworldbnkg @Uzoma_Diamond pic.twitter.com/FG2jCa1ime
— Rob (@yorwerth) March 27, 2018
Accessibility, technicality and eligibility barriers to deposit, loan, and payment services are some of the major barriers in the usage of financial services. But now, with ‘Agent Banking’ distance and transaction size are no longer going to be problems.
This initiative would furthermore ensure that many more people have access to their deposits and are able to withdraw from bank accounts and mobile money wallets. They are also able to make utility bill payments, and airtime recharge as well as manage their savings even from these ‘informal mechanisms’.
Also, there would be a lot of effort that would be put into driving low cost digital access, broadening financial literacy campaigns, and creating micro loans, micro insurance, micro investment. This will be directed towards the under-served and unbanked Nigerians.
These agents would expand into rural areas and urban metropolises to serve the hard-to-reach. Financial transactions such as cash-in, cash-out, funds transfer, bill payments, airtime purchase, government disbursements, and remote enrollment on BMS infrastructure (Bank Verification Number) would now be carried out by these agents making it easily accessible to everyone, irrespective of status.
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