Ecobank Nigeria says its vision to use its agency banking scheme to drive financial inclusion is fast yielding fruits as it now has over 50,000 agents locations across the country. According to the bank, apart from helping to drive its financial inclusion strategy in Nigeria, the agents are empowered to create wealth and enjoy financial freedom. Head of Agency Banking, Ecobank Nigeria, Olanike Kolawole, who stated this in Lagos said the customer experience is very good as customers can do simple deposit, withdrawal and transfers in their own neighbourhood rather than travel to a bank branch.
“Apart from driving financial inclusion of the unbanked and under-banked, we are improving neighbourhoood banking with our 50,000 agent points across Nigeria. The vision of the 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 stated.
Further, she said the bank is happy with its agency banking services providers also known as our 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”.
Meanwhile, the Shared Agent Network Expansion Facilities (SANEF) in it recent report says, Ecobank Nigeria which ranked fourth out of 23 listed banks in the country in terms of agents acquired in 2021, made impressive showing in accounts opening at agency locations. SANEF is 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. Its major role is to deepen Financial Inclusion in Nigeria; drive financial literacy and campaign awareness on financial products and services.
According to the report Nigerian banks in 2021 acquired over 441,470 agents across the regions of the country, which represents 101% of Year to date achievement against the target set for 2021. Four (4) regions achieved over 70% of Target; Northeast had 67% growth in agent acquisition despite security challenges in the region; Similarly, Southeast recorded131% growth in agent acquisition. Abuja (42%), Rivers (28%), and Lagos (57%) of the total agents deployed in Northcentral, South-south, and Southwest respectively. The Report revealed that 1.62 billion transactions valued at N30.5 trillion were carried out at agent locations, while 3.1million accounts/ wallets were opened at during the year.