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‘Agent Banking, POS driving last-mile access for unbanked, under-banked’

Strong rise in access to digital financial services especially by the unbanked is being experienced nationwide due to massive rollout of agent banking and Point of Sales (PoS) terminals as key drivers of last-mile access to formal digital financial services.

Checks also revealed that apart from reaching the unbanked seamlessly, the drive is also servicing the under-banked population and locations across the federation.

In the last couple of months, a number of banking giants including Access Bank, Fidelity and others have grown their agent banking base with attractive packages and service offerings.

Besides, leading telecom giant, MTN Nigeria, which recently secured mobile money (MoMo) licence from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has deepened service offerings as the number of agent bankers kept growing across the federation.

Checks across several streets in Lagos, Abuja and Port Harcourt showed rising outlets of financial services outfits managed by young Nigerians who make good leaving out of the scheme and further drive financial inclusion.

Giving insights on the gradual financial inclusion revolution raging in the country now, the Managing Director, ITEX Integrated services, Ernest Udeje, said “Nigeria had for a long time been a cash economy, but the electronic payment is gradually evolving.”

According to him, “The Shared Agent Network Expansion Facility (SANEF) target to create 250,000 agent points by the end of 2019 and another 250,000 by the end of 2020, is underway and realistic.”

Joining Udeje in giving further explanation on the gains of agent banking and its growing access, Managing Consultant, Intermac Consulting, Adeyinka Adeyemi, said financial inclusion will raise Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), improve the standard of living of the citizens, and increase per capita income.

He disclosed that “The Super Agents would enable provide basic financial services such as account opening, BVN capture, funds transfer, cash withdrawals, bill payments to the unbanked, particularly in rural areas.

“This super-agent license gives an opportunity to provide financial services on an even larger scale, thus providing financial empowerment to the unbanked and under-banked,” Intermac Consulting boss, Adeyemi averred.