Access Bank adopts agency banking to deepen financial inclusion
Access Bank Plc has introduced agency banking to deepen financial inclusion in Nigeria, to enable branches to focus more on complex customer obligations.
A banking agent is defined as an authorised third party (a retail or postal outlet) contracted by a financial institution to process clients‘
The Head, Agency Banking, Access Bank, Michael Ogbaa, while introducing the bank’s Omni-channel agency banking application at the bank’s agency banking forum, in Lagos, on Tuesday, decried that there are only 307,000 PoS terminals in Nigeria as at July 2019, of which only 167,000 are active.
He also revealed that there are less than 7,000 ATM, about 6,000 branches all over the country, adding that these channels are grossly inadequate for a country with over 99 million adult populations.
“This is the reason agency banking has become not only important but inevitable in achieving the Federal Government’s financial inclusion strategy. “The Omni-channel agency banking application, which customers can access via mobile application, web, POS, and USSD.
“It promises to redefine the way clients have been doing before now. Access Bank has over 6.5 million Mobile Apps, over 7.1 million cards, over 600 branches, 3,134 Automated Teller Machines (ATMs), 26,065 Point of Sale (PoS) terminals.”
He listed the challenges of agents to include charges, settlement and reconciliation issues, restrictive agency banking application and the platform, inadequate PoS terminals and support among others, which are being addressed with the launch of the new App as well as the multi-channel application.
“The new agency banking solution is a robust application that can now offer all the services you have been waiting for. We are also dedicating exclusive staff for PoS support settlement reconciliation and issue resolution at our contact centre.
“In addition to this we are rolling out branding and promotional items to the first 10,000 agents and subsequently we will introduce more. We are also procuring additional 5,000 android enabled PoS terminals for our agents. We have also reviewed our commissions upwards.”
The Group Deputy Managing Director of the bank, Roosevelt Ogbonna, also restated the lender’s commitment to attract the financially-excluded into the inclusion net.He said the bank will collaborate with its partners across the country that are closer to the market and understand the locality better than any bank, to drive financial inclusion in Nigeria.
“Financial inclusion is something we want to champion and drive. We have credible partners across the country who are closer to the market, understand their locality better than any bank would do and these we are calling our partners and relying on to be able to drive financial inclusion conversation.
“Today, we start a new face of agency relationship. I think it is one that is truly embedded in partnership. So this is not about Access Bank, it is about our agents, celebrating, and appreciating them for the work that they have done.
“We are now about to take this to a whole different level, and we need you to hold us to account and push us to be better. If the platforms are not working, let us have that conversation. We are going to grow our customer base and working with you to grow the customer base, we grow the economy because there is more conversation around financial inclusion,” Ogbonna added.
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