Equity Bank Uganda is ready to embrace and roll out agency banking across the country, Business Focus reveals.
Anthony Kituuka, the Executive Director at Equity Bank Uganda says that they have systems and resources ready to roll agency banking, noting that they are only waiting for guidelines from the Bank of Uganda (BoU) which they expect anytime.
“We are recruiting agents for piloting and getting them ready. We are looking at recruiting 3000-5000 agents in the next few years,” Kituuka said in an exclusive interview at the sidelines of a press briefing held on May30 at the bank’s head offices in Katwe, Kampala. The bank was handing over a Shs35m cheque to Namirembe Diocese towards the preparations of Martyr’s Day Celebrations held last Saturday.
Kituuka added that they know more about how agency banking works since Equity Bank is the pioneer of agency banking in Kenya where they employ over 25,000 agents.
Asked on who will qualify to become there agent, Kituuka said whoever has a running business with better cash flow management will stand a chance to represent the bank. He said that even people in business entities like bucthers, groceries , resturants, hospitals and churches will benefit from this platform.
Agency banking, a model that allows banks to use fellow banks, shops, kiosks and field agents to open accounts, receive deposits, effect withdrawals and carry out other transactions is being embraced world over to deepen financial inclusion.
Under this innovation, financial inclusion is not limited to banking the unbanked but convergence of various bank and non-bank players to provide financial services at lower cost, a wider reach and greater convenience to all end consumers of financial services, unbanked or otherwise.
On March31, 2017 President Yoweri Museveni assented to The Financial Institutions (Amendment) Act, 2016 that provides for Islamic banking, banc assurance and agent banking among other things.
Earlier on March 29, 2017, commercial banks under their umbrella body, Uganda Bankers Association (UBA) revealed that they were set to roll agent banking through a shared platform. UBA has partnered with Eclectics International Ltd, a Pan-African private company to design, develop, deploy and operate the inter-operable shared platform that connects all member banks to the agent network spread across the country.
In an earlier interview, Patrick Mweheire, the Stanbic Bank Uganda Chief Executive Officer said that he is “very positive” that agency banking will boost financial inclusion in Uganda, adding that Stanbic will quickly embrace the model since it is cost effective. He revealed that the bank will recruit about 1,000 agents for this new platform in Uganda.