“Where there’s a shop, there’s a bank.”
On a hot afternoon sometime in January, Bisola Akeem was swarmed with over a dozen customers who wanted to send and receive money. “I feel like a banker”, she told me. But Akeem, a marketing graduate from a Nigerian polytechnic, is not your conventional banker. She is a mobile money agent with a point of sale (PoS) device allotted to her from a microfinance bank. Although she offers some of the essential services you’ll find at many banking halls, such as cash withdrawals, money transfer, and bill payments, she does so without the cosy air-conditioned environment you’ll find at the bank.
As customers beckon for her to attend to them quickly, they’re in no real hurry to leave. After seeing long queues at the closest ATMs and banking halls, they know Akeem is their fastest route to get cash. So they wait.