Nigeria’s Agency Banking Scheme Records 1.62bn Transactions Worth N30.5tr In 2021- Report
A new report by the Shared Agent Network Expansion Facilities (SANEF) revealed that 1.62 billion transactions valued at N30.5 trillion were carried out and 3.1m accounts/ wallets opened at agency banking locations across the country in 2021.
SANEF, an initiative of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), supported by Deposit Money Banks (DMBs), Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement Systems (NIBSS) and Licensed Mobile Money Operators/Shared Agents, is aimed at deepeninf Financial Inclusion in Nigeria; drive financial literacy and campaign awareness on financial products and services.
The report said Nigerian banks in 2021 acquired over 441,470 agents across the various regions of the country, representing 101% of Year to date achievement, when compared to the target set for the year, with four regions achieving over 70% of the set target. The Northeast, it noted, had 67% growth in agent acquisition despite security challenges in the region, just as the Southeast recorded 131% growth. Abuja accounted for 42%; Rivers, 28%; and Lagos, 57% of the total agents deployed in Northcentral, South-south, and Southwest respectively, the report added.
Meanwhile, efforts by ranked Ecobank Nigeria to drive financial inclusion through its agency banking scheme may be fast yielding fruits, as it now has over 50,000 agent locations across the country. It now ranks fourth of 23 listed banks in the country in terms of agents acquired in 2021, making impressive showing in accounts opening at agency locations, according to the report.
A statement by the bank on Sunday quoted its Head of Agency Banking, Olanike Kolawole as saying that apart from helping to drive its financial inclusion strategy in Nigeria, the agents are empowered to create wealth and enjoy financial freedom.
She described the customer experience as very good, allowing customers do simple deposit, withdrawal and transfers in their own neighbourhood, rather than travel to a bank branch, thereby driving financial inclusion of the unbanked and under-banked, through improved neighbourhoood banking.
“The vision of Ecobank is to use the agency banking scheme to drive entrepreneurship, provide employment opportunities and support Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) to contribute meaningfully to the development of nation’s economy.
“For us as a bank, agency banking is part of our efforts to help more Nigerians embrace entrepreneurship as best strategy to tackle poverty and address growing unemployment. We are out to empower people to create wealth and enjoy financial freedom,” she stressed further.
Furthermore, she expressed the bank’s happiness with its agency banking services providers also known “as Xpress point agents, knowing they are playing a critical role in helping us reach out to the unbanked and underbanked in the society.
“They are bringing more people to the banking space through their services. They carry out financial transactions on our behalf and earn commission on every transaction processed. Our services are available for sole proprietors, partnerships, co-operative societies, companies with large distribution network – like petrol stations, FMCGs, telecommunication companies, super agents, aggregators and unregistered businesses such as petty traders, hair saloon and others