Agent Banking and its promising future

The concept of Agent Banking has been gaining traction in recent years and for good reasons.

This innovative approach to banking has the potential to revolutionise the financial industry, particularly in developing countries where access to banking services is limited.

Spearheading this financial inclusion drive is FirstBank – with over 200,000 agents (March 2023) spread across 772 out of 774 local government areas in Nigeria. This represents the largest bank-led Agent Banking network in Nigeria.

So, what exactly is Agent Banking and how has it impacted the financial landscape in Nigeria?

Agent Banking involves the use of third-party agents to provide basic banking services on behalf of a financial institution. These agents can be individuals or businesses that are authorised to conduct transactions such as deposits, withdrawals, transfers, bill payments etc.

One of the main advantages of agent banking is its ability to reach customers in remote areas who may not have access to a physical bank branch. By leveraging existing businesses or individuals in these areas, financial institutions can extend their reach and provide the much-needed services to both the unbanked and underbanked populations of their communities.

Firstmonie Agents or FirstBank “Human ATMs” are our community heroes who are positively impacting the society, improving lives and eradicating poverty by providing unfettered access to financial transactions even in the most remote areas. Serving over 1 million unique customers daily, they have processed more than N22 trillion worth of transactions and provided over 300,000 jobs.

Another benefit of Agent Banking is its cost-effectiveness. While traditional brick-and-mortar bank branches can be expensive to build and maintain, especially in rural areas, Agent Banking allows financial institutions to reduce these costs by using existing infrastructure and personnel. Perhaps, the most exciting aspect of agent banking is its potential for innovation.

With the rise of mobile technology and digital payments, agents can now provide a range of services beyond basic transactions. For example, agents can offer mobile banking services, sell insurance products, or even act as a point-of-sale for merchants amongst others.

Leveraging FirstBank’s heritage, experience, personnel and network infrastructure, its Firstmonie Agent Banking service ensures the security of transactions and the protection of customer data while offering sound training for agent onboarding and financial intervention (credit offerings) to the agents.

In emerging markets like Nigeria with a population of over 200 million and 40% unbanked or underbanked, the potential for agent banking to play a critical role in expanding financial inclusion is clear and this is expected to drive an increased demand for this specialised service. The future looks bright with more financial institutions embracing this approach and as technology continues to advance, we can expect to see even more innovative services being offered through agents.

With FirstBank agent network, your account will never be far away from you, click here to locate an agent or sign up to become one.

References: https://www.wikipedia/ Ladybird limited.

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