To ensure that the goal of financial inclusion is deepened amongst Nigerians, ACCION Micro-Finance Bank (MFB) has said that digitization remains the key to unlocking unique potentials in the microfinance space.
This is even as the Bank called on financial regulatory bodies to adjust their framework around financial technology to ensure access to finance is not limited.
Speaking during the 2nd edition of 2018 financial inclusion seminar which was organized by the bank yesterday in Lagos, Chairman, Board of Directors, ACCION MFB, Patrick Akinwuntan, while reiterating the bank’s commitment towards delivering its financial inclusion mandate to every household in Nigeria, said that financial inclusion is critical to the survival of an economy.
Akinwuntan commended the initiatives of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and urged them to move faster to support Fintechs so as improve access to finance in the financial space.
“Today, we have technology, we have the Fintechs, mobile phones and today I can stand in another location and serve a micro-finance customer who is in another location simply by access on a mobile phone. These are developments in terms of reality of the operation on the field that the regulators need to keep abreast of, anticipate ahead, adjust appropriately because the whole idea is to include everyone in the financial inclusion category.
Today we are around 40 per cent despite the fact that we are 180 million, this means that there is so much ground to cover and so we need to collaborate more together in order to advance, leveraging technology to make the cost of access cheaper.”, he explained.
According to him, ACCION MFB is leveraging on the use of mobile phone to reach more people with the USSD code which is *572# to ensure that the bank continues to deepen its reach to those who are yet to be financially included.
Corroborating, Managing Director, ACCION MFB, Taiwo Joda, said that the bank has plans to leverage on financial technology by unveiling a fully digitized product, an end-to-end loan product by first quarter of 2019, while adding that 80 per cent of the bank’s activities are automated.
According to him, the bank has disbursed over N8.4 billion in consumer loans to customers from January till date.
Joda further said, “we are amongst the best in the market but again in terms of market share, we have over 300,000 active accounts and we think that looking at the potentials in the market and we will probably stand at 5-10 per cent and that is why we are growing very quickly.
This is why we are driving technology to ensure that we reduce cost and ensure we scale up significantly. We intend to penetrate the market further by going into those areas that we are not currently operating and so by next year, we will open branches in more states and in the next 5 years, our strategy is to actually cover the 36 states.”