In line with efforts to drive the deployment of widespread agent networks in Nigeria to reach the National Financial Inclusion Strategy targets of increasing the number of agents to 500,000 by 2020 and support the providers in building and scaling their agent networks, EFInA in collaboration with the Shared Agent Network Expansion Facility (SANEF) hosted Financial Services Agents Forum which held at Event Centre, Hakeem Balogun Street, Agidingbi, Ikeja Lagos on Tuesday, July 30, 2019.
The objectives of the forum were to provide capacity building for agents, introduce potential partners and new opportunities to improve agents’ business. The forum was also an avenue to reward top performing agents and provide an assurance of government’s endorsement of Agent Service.
The forum was attended by over 300 financial services agents in South West Nigeria, Providers, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Women’s World Banking, Nigeria Police Special Fraud Unit, Association of Mobile Money and Bank Agent of Nigeria among others. The forum served as a platform to discuss myriad of issues affecting agents’ operations and requirement by various stakeholders to create enabling environment and empower financial services agents to continue to deliver financial products/services to Nigerian adults, especial in hard to reach area at affordable price. At the event, over 10 top performing agents selected from various financial services provider were rewarded for their outstanding performances.
From the discussions, the following are the key take away from the agent forum:
- There is need for more awareness and capacity building for the Nigeria Police Special Fraud unit on Agency banking services to eliminate harassment of agents
- Providers need to continuously engage in training and capacity building for agents on new trends in the industry and current trends of perpetrating fraud such as leveraging Agents for money Laundering and Financing of Terrorism activities
- Providers need to continuously engage in training and capacity building for agents on new trends and Anti-money Laundering and Combating the Financing of Terrorism
- Providers should provide speedy support to agents and drastically reduce the turn-around time for issue resolution
- Consumer protection department of the CBN needs to create more awareness on redress mechanism for disputes between agents and providers
- There should be more industry awareness on agent services to drive uptake and usage
EFInA believes that similar initiatives of bringing together Financial Services Agents stakeholders across all levels to share their experiences and lessons will go a long way towards building sustainable Agent Networks for the attainment of the Financial inclusion goal of 20% exclusion by 2020. EFInA and SANEF will extend the Quarterly Financial Services Agents Forum to other geopolitical zones