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FINCA Microfinance gets $100,015 EFInA’s grant for agency banking

By Chijioke Nelson and Lucky Orioha   |   17 October 2016   |   2:48 am
FINCA Microfinance Bank

FINCA Microfinance Bank

Enhancing Financial Innovation & Access (EFInA), has granted $100,015 technical assistance grant to support FINCA Microfinance Bank’s Agency Banking network, in order to deliver convenient, low cost and secure financial services to the unbanked women in South Eastern Nigeria.

FINCA Microfinance is one of the financial institutions in Nigeria to significantly roll out a proprietary agent network to reach the unbanked markets and expected to deliver convenient and secure financial services, especially to women.

Under the network, customers will be able to open new accounts, deposit and withdraw cash and perform account-to-account transfers through ‘agent’ assisted banking.

The Chief Executive Officer of EFInA, Chidinma Lawanson, said: “The FINCA agency banking network clearly aligns with EFInA’s key focus area of using agent banking as a means to reach many under-served and under-banked people, especially women. Through this project, FINCA MFB will offer a full suite of pro-poor savings and loan products to the under-banked people in the South East.

“In Nigeria, from our EFInA Access to Financial Services in Nigeria 2014 survey, bank penetration averages only 6.43 branches per 100,000 adults, and this figure is less in rural areas. The distance from bank branches and the associated high cost of servicing low-balance accounts are key challenges that increase financial exclusion of the poor, and this project primarily addresses these challenges.

“FINCA’s experience in several African countries shows that the deployment of an agent banking network is ultimately a tool through which savings are mobilised.”

Also, the Chief Executive Officer, FINCA Microfinance, Philip Takyi, said the bank’s agency network will provide increased access to financial services to the communities targeted.

“The overarching value proposition on FINCA’s Express is to provide clients with choices that ease access to financial services, to ensure convenience as per the client’s definition- proximity, hours and cost of access. Also, to provide value to our clients in areas they define as priorities like lower cost of access, security, convenience, to ensure reliability that attract those with little or no access to financial services.

“We are committed to reaching low-income Nigerians, micro-enterprises, and small businesses that need access to socially responsible financial services.

“Customers of FINCA will have unlimited access to their account, they can withdraw, make deposits, repay their loans, make transfers from their FINCA account to otherFINCA accounts, print their statements and check their account balances without paying for any of these services or leaving their businesses.”

Takyi added that customers’ transactions are also secured because a customer will authorise access to their account by use of biometrics via their registered fingerprints.

“We seek to scale up our branchless banking strategy through the introduction of FINCA Express (Agency Banking) to facilitate outreach, support operation efficiency and diversification of its products and services within the Nigeria market at large.

“This is hinged on using secured devices as delivery channels to drive savings among clients, accelerate convenient access to financial services and build visibility for FINCA MFB, making it a community bank of first choice,” he added.

FINCA MFB’s goal is to expand outreach into five additional states with 14 branches in the South East region within five years, reaching more than 267,000 active clients.

The EFInA Technical Assistance Grant will enable FINCA MFB pilot its agent banking network project in Owerri, Imo State.

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