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Collaborations key to success of financial inclusion target by 2020


Patrick Akinwuntan

For the Federal Government to achieve the 80 per cent financial inclusion target by the year 2020, the need to focus on aggressive stakeholders’ collaboration and identifying key strategies aimed at unbundling the financially excluded has become expedient.
The Chairman, Accion Micro Finance Bank,  Patrick Akinwuntan, while addressing participants at the company’s 2018 financial inclusion seminar, in Lagos, said considering the nation’s huge population, an entity cannot  achieve greater effectiveness and impact needed to deliver on the target.
Speaking on the theme: “Digitisation as a tool for deepening financial inclusion and the role of regulation,” Akinwuntan said: “There is need for more collaborations because for a country as big as Nigeria, not one entity can deliver that goal.
“It is a huge market, we need collaboration from Telco’s, the cost of data services and cost of SMS messages need to be brought to a lower level so that many people can participate.
“The numbers are there, I know that some of these companies are moving in that direction but we need to move faster, we also need regulators to move faster. It is true that capital is needed but we need to look at how various participants in the ecosystem can sit at the same table and explain what their constraints are, we need to bring these ideas together.”The Managing Director of the bank, Taiwo Joda, expressed the bank’s readiness to leverage financial technology to boost its operations and woo the unbanked.
According to him,  80 per cent of the company’s activities were already automated ranging from loan creation to appraisal and disbursement to increase financial inclusion.He also disclosed that by the first quarter of 2019, the bank would roll out a fully digitalised end to end product that would enable it attract more customers, saying with this, the company, would become a pioneer in deploying financial technology in the Microfinance space.
Joda said that the bank had increased its footprint in seven states from the initial five states recorded at the beginning of the year.“We are among the best in the market, if we are not one, we are not far from being number two and we have over 3,000 active accounts and that is why we are growing so quickly.
“We are also deploying technology to drive down cost and ensure we scale significantly to ensure that we penetrate areas that we are not currently operating,” he said.
Joda said that the bank had concluded arrangement to cover the 36 states of the federation in the next five years, adding that  the bank would list on the Nigerian Stock Exchange  (NSE) in the near future to enable Nigerians become part owners of the business.

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