By PETER EGWUATU
The Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN) will issue another round of Agency Banking licence in November as part of measures to promote financial inclusion in the country.
Dr. ‘Uju Ogubunka, Registrar/CEO, Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN) revealed this weekend in Lagos that “ the newly introduced Agency Banking will help drive penetration of banking services to the rural areas.”
In his words: “Agency banking will drive an impression of banking in Nigeria. There are few branches of banks in the country and there is a growing need to spread across the country such that the distance between where people live and where banks are located are close.
So, instead of going to all parts of the country, building more branches, people are allowed to use their existing business outlets to provide banking services. With this, it makes banking become neighbourhood banking.”
He stressed that Agency Banking will help penetrate and propagate banking business in the rural areas, adding: ”It will help significantly and will make banking grow and more acceptable to the uneducated and those in rural areas.” While commenting on the planned issuance of new agency licence, he said:” There are requirements that prospective agents must possess. They must undergo training and must have requisite skills needed for such operations.”
Commenting on cashless economy, he noted that “it is a good development for the country as there will be less carriage of cash. Almost all the banks in the country have Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) situated in all areas of the country. It is a gradual process; we will get there where every person will accept the cashless economy.
The cashless system is part of what you will see with the mobile money. We are bringing market place to the mobile money, where you can buy airtime, pay your bills, and pay for tickets and so on. So I think the agency banking will grow and prosper in the rural areas. Among people that know how to use phones and other devices, you will see more acceptance of alternative channels.