Akinwuntan: There is Need to Drive Gender Inclusion in MFB Sub-sector

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Managing Director, Ecobank Nigeria, Patrick Akinwuntan

Ugo Aliogo
The Chairman, Board of Director, Accion Microfinance Bank, Mr. Patrick Akinwuntan, has stressed the need to drive increased gender inclusion in the microfinance banking (MFB) sub-sector.

Akinwuntan, disclosed this recently in Lagos, during the third annual financial inclusion forum with the theme: “Re-emerging Microfinance Banks: The Digital Reality,” organised by Accion Microfinance Bank.

“There is need to promote the female gender. Women have proven to be the best customers in the microfinance space. We must keep emphasising that women as custodians of the home, it is important to empower them financially,” he said.

He said as part of efforts to deepen financial inclusion by 80 per cent in 2020, there was need to follow the regulatory measures, which he noted was positive and has allowed people open accounts from their mobile phones.

Akinwuntan, further explained that the second pillar is digital which he identified as being critical in offering services at low cost, in a sustainable manner, adding that there was need to see more collaborations in that space especially among the telecommunication companies, payment switches, the insurance companies, credit bureau, national identification bureau, and others.

Earlier in his remarks, the Managing Director, Accion Microfinance Bank, Taiwo Joda, said the seminar has had a meaningful impact in the microfinance industry.

He noted that two years down the line, because of the efforts of the bank, and other people in the ecosystem, Accion has contributed to driving 60 per cent financial inclusion rate.

According to Joda, “In 2018, we looked at how regulation can help with digital uptake, we looked at the role the Bureau and others can play, the roles account tier holding and KYC.

“After the financial inclusion seminar, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) came up with modification to the tier accounts, so we have tier one, and two accounts and a bit of modification around it, so that a lot customers and prospects out there carry out financial transactions through informal means not through the formal banking.

“So it becomes easier for people to open accounts and do transactions. That also drove us to improve on our technology platform looking at how our customers can transact instantly especially financial transactions.

“We invented our USSD code, re-launched our *572#, brought our mobile onboard and we also strengthened the NIP structure so that the payment system works on. It also drove us to look at our agent solution and see how we can improve on it.”