EFInA hosted its third Financial Services Agent Survey dissemination event virtually on Wednesday, June 17, 2020. The previous two Financial Services Agents survey were held in 2015 and 2017 respectively and it became clear from the findings of this year’s survey that agent banking has evolved and the dynamics are changing. The 2020 survey featured a more robust sample size of 1618 financial service agents that were randomly selected based on the proportion of agents per region and provider type.
During his presentation, the Programme Specialist, Agent Networks at EFInA, Henry Chukwu noted that the findings of the survey revealed that failed transactions and issues with provider platforms are the top challenges faced by agents. More than half of the agents interviewed were relatively new to the business (6 months up to 1 year) and requested hand-holding from principals to solve some of the challenges faced. Other aspects of the presentation revealed information on Business Operations Dynamics, Agent Pricing & Economics, Float Management as well as Support Received from Providers.
The presentation also featured information from the survey EFInA conducted on the Impact of Covid-19 on Agents’ Operation to understand the impact of the pandemic on agents’ business. The findings showed that the agents are not adequately supported by their providers/principals. Only 8% claimed to have received support from Financial Service Providers (FSPs) since the pandemic began. In addition, 80% of the agents surveyed reported that their businesses have been negatively impacted by the pandemic. However, despite bad business conditions and little or no support received from principals, the agents reported that they are still willing to render support beyond their primary business to aid the fight against the spread.
At the event, there was a panel session involving Mrs. Ronke Kuye, CEO of SANEF, Mr. Emmanuel Agha, CEO of Innovectives, Mr. Jude Anele, Group Head, Retail Banking, UBA and Jacqueline Jumah, Head of DFS at EFInA. The panel discussions were centred around the decline observed in the percentage of account opening by agents compared to previous years, the high percentage of profitable standalone agents which is contrary to the CBN guide on Agent Banking and other outliers noticed from the survey. Participants at the event also contributed to the discussions and interesting insights around the survey findings were highlighted during the panel session.
The event was attended by over 150 participants including regulators, operators, super agents, mobile money operators and persons who are interested in learning about Agent Banking. Ashley Immanuel, Head of Programmes at EFInA launched the brochure on Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on Agent Banking which was produced by EFInA to support the industry in creating more awareness about agent banking and to close the knowledge bank that exists around agent banking. On that note, Ashley gave the closing remarks and ended the meeting.