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Banks urged to show commitment to financial inclusion campaign

28 November 2013, 14:13

Lagos - The Governor of the CBN, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, has advised banks to show commitment to the financial inclusion campaign aimed at capturing more Nigerians to the banking system.

Sanusi made the appeal at the inauguration of the Financial Inclusion Scheme in Lagos on Wednesday.

The scheme is to operate through agent banking network like point of sales terminals, automated teller machines and on-line banking, among others.

Sanusi said that the banking agent, who had the advantage of branchless banking network, would also serve as expansion of bank networks.

He said that financial inclusion was no longer a corporate social responsibility initiative, but a means to ensure that the financial system remained stable and ensured customer protection.

Sanusi said that demand for financial services and level of awareness of available products were important to ensure that agent banking was embraced in communities across the country.

“The need to provide access to affordable financial services and products for every Nigerian is what has brought us here today.

“The move by Sterling Bank to use agents in line with the Central Bank of Nigeria’s agent banking guidelines to reach the grassroots where bank branches are scarce is highly commendable,” he said.

Sanusi said that the model provided low cost of customer service as banks did not need to incur extra cost of building new infrastructure.

He said that the use of biometrics as a means of identification would mitigate the documentation required by banks for opening accounts.

Sanusi said that the mobile money agent model was popular in other developing countries like Brazil and India with between 50 000 and 150 000 banking agents, respectively.

Yemi Adeola, the Managing Director of Sterling Bank, in his welcome address, said that the bank owed it a duty to play a role in creating wealth across the country.

Adeola said that it was not enough for banks to embark on corporate social responsibility or charity initiatives

“We must remember that progress in the poorest parts of the country will benefit all of us in the long run.

“Every now and then, plans to eradicate poverty and bring financial services to the unbanked are discussed with much hype and promise, but in reality no action is taken,” he said.

He said that the bank was strategically targeting financial inclusion initiative at communities in which its efforts would have impact.

-   NAN


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