Wednesday, 12 October 2016

EFInA Boosts Agency Banking With $100,015 Grant To Finca Microfinance Bank

In a bid to expand convenient, low cost and secure financial services to the unbanked women in South Eastern Nigeria, Enhancing Financial Innovation & Access (EFInA), a financial sector development organisation has released a Technical Assistance Grant to the sum of $100,015 (One Hundred Thousand and Fifteen US Dollars only), to support FINCA Microfinance Bank’s Agency Banking network.

FINCA MFB is one of the financial institutions in Nigeria to significantly roll out a proprietary agent network to reach the unbanked markets.The agency banking network is expected to deliver convenient and secure financial services to the unbanked, especially women. Under the network, customers will be able to open new accounts, deposit and withdraw cash and perform account to account transfersthrough ‘agent’ assisted banking.

According to the Chief Executive Officer of EFInA, Chidinma Lawanson, “The FINCA agency banking network clearly aligns with EFInA’s key focus area of using agent banking as a means to reach many under-served and under-banked people, especially women. Through this project, FINCA MFB will offer a full suite of pro-poor savings and loan products to the under-banked people in the South East.”

“In Nigeria, from our EFInA Access to Financial Services in Nigeria 2014 survey, bank penetration averages only 6.43 branches per 100,000 adults, and this figure is less in rural areas. The distance from bank branches and the associated high cost of servicing low-balance accounts are key challenges that increase financial exclusion of the poor, and this project primarily addresses these challenges”.

Furthermore, she said, “FINCA’s experience in several African countries shows that the deployment of an agent banking network is ultimately a tool through which savings are mobilized.”

Speaking on the grant,Philip Takyi, the CEO of FINCA Microfinance Bank Ltd Nigeria, said, FINCA's agency banking network will provide increased access to financial services to the community.

He noted the vision for piloting the FINCA Express (Agency Banking) network project –  “The overarching value proposition on FINCA’s Express is to provide clients with choices that ease access to financial services, to ensure convenience as per the client’s definition (proximity, hours and cost of access), to provide value to our clients in areas they define as priorities (lower cost of access, security, convenience etc.), to ensure reliability that attract those with little or no access to financial services”.

Mr. Philip added that FINCA’s customers’ transactions are also secured because a customer
will authorize access to their account by use of biometrics via their registered fingerprints. When a customer opens a savings account with FINCA, the customer provides a digital scan of their fingerprints.

“We seek to scale up our branchless banking strategy through the introduction of FINCA Express (Agency Banking) to facilitate outreach, support operation efficiency and diversification of its products and services within the Nigeria market at large. This is hinged on using secured devices as delivery channels to drive savings among clients, accelerate convenient access to financial services and build visibility for FINCA MFB, making it a community bank of first choice”, he said.

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