As part of its retail banking strategy, Unity Bank Plc has extended its agent banking services to the north-western states of Kano and Jigawa as a vehicle to reach out to the unbanked and deepen financial inclusion.
The bank explained in a statement that it situated its agent banking services at Gumel in Jigawa state and Rijiya-Lemu in Fagge Local Government area of Kano state.
According to the General Manager Products & Channels Directorate of Unity Bank, Mr. Bonaventure Okhaimo, prioritising the North-west was borne out of the need to tap into the huge unbanked population in the region.
Agent Banking model is conceptualised to evolve as a model of community and rural banking where basic banking services are brought to the level of rural financial activities, said Bonaventure.
The roll-out, which witnessed the opening of many agency outlets in the areas, was attended by numerous locals, customers and prospects, who were all excited to be able to avail themselves of financial services without travelling long distances to a bank branch.
The customers were able to open accounts with Unity Bank, perform cash-in (deposit), cash-out (withdrawal) as well as bills payment transactions at the new agent banking outlets, the statement revealed.
The bank’s Group Head, Retail & SME Banking, Olufunwa Akinmade, explained that an important part of the roll-out in any location, is a two-day customer education session organised to bring customers up to speed with the basic tenets of the scheme.
On the security of the customers’ funds, Akinmade said the mitigant on the withdrawal side is that the service is running on MCash-a secure phone-based withdrawal system backed by the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement Systems (NIBSS) while at the deposit end, the customer must receive an alert to be sure that the transaction has been consummated.