By Ugo Aliogo
First Bank of Nigeria Limited has said its commitment to deepen financial inclusion in Nigeria has received a great boost with its network of mobile money agents growing to over 22,000 agents.
Speaking recently in Lagos at the Future of Finance West Africa Conference, the Deputy Managing Director, First Bank Nigeria Limited, Mr. Gbenga Shobo, said the bank’s agents process over $490 million worth of transactions monthly.
Shobo, who spoke during a panel discussion on: ‘Mobile money services for a better financial inclusion in West Africa,’ noted that to support the federal government’s objectives to deepen financial inclusion, “the bank sought and got a mobile money license in 2012.”
He stated that its Firstmonie wallet platform had over four million customers and a spread of agent network that was expected to grow to 50,000 in 2019.
According to him, “To support the federal government’s objectives to deepen financial inclusion, First Bank sought and got a mobile money license in 2012. Firstmonie has had a transformational impact on reaching low-income and historically unbanked households in Nigeria.
“It is integrating them into the wider financial system by providing access to a range of banking services including account opening, fund transfer capabilities, Identity management (BVN) and savings.
“After a successful roll out of the Firstmonie Agent network 2018, the business has grown to a network of over 22,000 agents processing over $490 million worth of transaction in monthly value and a unique transaction count of 10 million monthly.”
He said that the bank has spread across all the Local Government Areas in the country, and had deployed technology, invested in recruitment and training to ensuring that more Nigerians were reached.
Also, speaking at the conference, the Consultant, International Finance Corporation (IFC/World Bank), Mrs. Chidinma Lawanson, said growth recorded in Africa’s financial inclusion was driven by mobile money and agent banking.