Agent banking may have a swell time in the financial sector this year as Ecobank Nigeria mulls 50,000 locations for the initiative.
According to its Managing Director, Mr. Patrick Akinwuntan, who disclosed this Thursday in Lagos while unveiling the plans of the pan-Africa bank for this year, the bank’s ultimate goal in 2019 is to bring banking services to all neighbourhoods with the creation of 50,000 agent banking locations across Nigeria.
He explained that the bank’s successes over the years have been predicated on its preference for technology and it intends to leverage on this in the quest to ensure that more people are brought into the financial inclusion space.
His words: “We have a wide range of more than 400 physical locations. But interestingly, we have more than 4,000 agency locations known as Ecobank Express Points, which is really our approach to bringing banking to every neighbourhood and our ambition is to have 50,000 of such locations this year.
“We want to do it in such a way that in every neighbourhood, you can access an Ecobank Express Point to either do cash deposits or cash withdrawals to make banking more convenient for our customers. We have built technology platform that ensures we are able to provide our services in reliable manner in a way that is affordable and accessible by our customers. We play a key role in collaborating with regulators and government in order to be able to provide financial services at the doorstep of Nigerians and empowering every African to participate in financial economy.”
Speaking on some of the bank’s products, Akinwuntan said Ecobank Mobile, which brings banking to the pocket of Nigerians, makes it easy for every individual to open a bank account straight from their phones and do payments, buy air time, and pay electricity bills.
“We also have Ecobank Pay, a QR payment solution that makes you pay with a mobile phone. Ecobabnk Pay has transparency, accountability and it is affordable. You can actually have 100 QR codes. You don’t have to protect your QR code. It does not remove money from your account; it can only be used to pay money into your account.
“All these for us are very important in bringing more digital banking into the economy and ensure that small unit business entities participate more in the economy. It enables people to do business faster, pay faster and reduce the risk of security and exposure to cards. Our ambition is to bring the Ecobank Pay to every household, every market.”