Banking through agents: A successful path to inclusion?
Agency banking in Nigeria. Source: Stears Business

Nigeria's trend of agency banking began in 2009. Paga, a mobile payment company, had just started building out its agent network and expected mobile adoption to grow gradually over the next decade.

But agency banking started witnessing bigger moments when commercial banks joined in 2017. If you remember, the country was just slowly exiting its first recession in two decades. So that year, banks sought ways to diversify their revenue streams. The following year they started seeing the results of their efforts on agency banking.

For instance, in 2018, a year after First Bank launched its agent service (First Monie), it became fully operational across the 36 states and 754 local governments in Nigeria (about 98% of the country). First Bank ended the year with 14,800 agents, which contributed to the 36% revenue growth it got from electronic banking fees. The bank's agents were just a little shy of Paga's

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Adesola Afolabi

Adesola Afolabi

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