By Modupe Gbadeyanka

Ecobank Nigeria now has over 50,000 bank branches across the country, helping the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) achieve its financial inclusion drive.

“In addition to fostering financial inclusion for the unbanked and underbanked, we are improving community banking services with our 50,000 agent outlets across Nigeria.

“Ecobank’s vision is to use the agency banking program to stimulate entrepreneurship, provide employment opportunities and help micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) to contribute significantly to the development of the world. national economy.

“For us as a bank, agency banking is part of our efforts to help more Nigerians embrace entrepreneurship as the best strategy to fight poverty and tackle rising unemployment.

“We want to empower people to create wealth and enjoy financial freedom,” said Ecobank Nigeria’s Head of Agency Banking, Ms. Olanike Kolawole.

She said that through agent banking, customers can make simple deposits, withdrawals and transfers in their own neighborhood rather than visiting a bank branch.

Additionally, she said the bank is happy with its agency banking service providers, also known as Xpress points agents, knowing that they play a vital role in helping us reach the unbanked. and underbanked in society.

“They bring more people into the banking space through their services. They perform financial transactions on our behalf and earn a commission on each transaction processed.

“Our services are available to sole proprietors, partnerships, cooperative societies, companies with large distribution networks – such as gas stations, FMCGs, telecommunications companies, super agents, aggregators and non- registered such as small traders, hair salons and others,” she added.

Meanwhile, Shared Agent Network Expansion Facilities (SANEF) in its recent report said that Ecobank Nigeria, which ranked fourth out of 23 listed banks in the country in terms of agents acquired in 2021 , made an impressive impression in opening accounts in agencies.

SANEF is an initiative of the CBN, supported by Depository Banks (DMBs), Nigerian Interbank Settlement Systems (NIBSS) and Licensed Mobile Payment Operators/Shared Agents. Its major role is to deepen financial inclusion in Nigeria; promote financial literacy and campaign on financial products and services.

According to the report, Nigerian banks in 2021 acquired more than 441,470 agents across all regions of the country, representing 101% of the achievement to date against the target set for 2021.

Four regions achieved more than 70% of the target; The Northeast saw 67% growth in agent acquisition despite security issues in the region.

Similarly, the South East recorded a 131% growth in agent acquisition, Abuja (42%), Rivers (28%) and Lagos (57%) in total agents deployed respectively in the Central North , south-south and south-west.

The report revealed that 1.62 billion transactions valued at N30.5 trillion were made at branches, while 3.1 million accounts/wallets were opened during the year.

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