More than 37 percent of Nigerians, mostly in villages, have no relations with the banking sector while an estimation of 60.5 percent of Nigeria‘s adult population have access to financial services in the country.
Why this is the case is because it is far from cost-effective for Nigerian banks to operate in rural areas. For this reason, forty percent of bank branches are located in Lagos State and the rest in other cities.
CBN even launched agency banking recently in an attempt to reduce the gap between the rich and the poor. But still, several developing economies, which include Nigeria have a lot of their grown-ups staying in areas where there is zero access to banking services.
To get rid of this sad stat, the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, 7 years ago, introduced the policy of financial inclusion in collaboration with the Nigerian Postal Service, NIPOST, with the hope of achieving 80 percent financial inclusion by 2050.
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Seeing the sense in this move, NIPOST and Fidelity Bank Plc have launched an Agency Banking Partnership, themed: “Unifying Agency banking and TSA Collections on a single platform.”
The aim is to make proper use of NIPOST’s huge infrastructure of more than 1,800 outlets, seventy percent of which are in villages all over Nigeria.
They plan to improve banking services especially in the rural areas and locations banks cannot reach.
With the unveiling of Agency banking, a collaboration between NIPOST and Fidelity Bank, it will allow all bank customers to use banking services whether they are in a rural or urban area.
This initiative involves several stakeholders. The bank will offer physical services to the customer, and Global Accelerate will deliver the tech that will drive it. There are more partners who will provide the POS and other devices.
Treeline is in charge of the provision of the agent banking platform for NIPOST, plus internet services by service providers.
Fidelity Bank’s Divisional Head, Retail Banking, Richard Maduebo disclosed that the services will be backed up with massive public support.
On CBN’s role in all of this, Mr. Pivy Ambore, who works with the CBN Financial Inclusion Secretariat, revealed that it is important to close the financial gap in the areas with no banking services and CBN is making sure there is a level playing field for everybody that can step in to offer financial service.
He urged operators to partner and compete.