Agent banking in Nigeria: Long wait to ‘hit the ground running’
Wednesday, September 25, 2013
AGENT banking implies the introduction of another party in the conduct of banking business. The agency in question will receive, as well as make payments on behalf of bank(s). According to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), it is a branchless banking, involved in the “provision of financial/banking services by an authorised third agent to customers through a single business unit or distributed networks of retail or postal outlets. Banking agents can be pharmacies, supermarkets, post offices, kiosks, among others. The best suited are however, businesses that have built good customer relations and gathered experience in handling cash floats.
This means that a measure of transparency, accurate feasibility study, encompassing policy framework and security, to mention a few, will be assured. But by its operational mode, agent banking would leverage on the availability and accessibility of Information Communications Technology infrastructure to drive its penetration and success. No doubt, this consideration would be a challenge to its take-off, stability and deepening, yet to the extent that the will to drive the scheme, level of awareness to ensure people identify and adopt it and operational efficiency can be enabled in the system. Notably, agent banking is operational in Kenya and the awareness and adoption is high.