United Bank launches agent banking in Ethiopia
It hopes to reach the rural populations that do not have access to banking services.United Bank has received the green light from the National Bank of Ethiopia (NBE) to launch agent banking throughout the country.
United Bank President Taye Dibekulu told the Ethiopian Herald that "opening new branches demands immense infrastructure, human resource investment as well as financial capability which may cost one million (€46,440) to two million Birr."
"But agent banking is cost effective and gives an opportunity to reach out to a huge number of people who are seeking the service in remote rural areas," he added.
He said that anyone who is involved in legal business within Ethiopia can be an agent of a financial institution and that the services to be rendered include receiving money, withdrawals, transfers, paying for services and checking balances. The bank will also provide mobile banking services.
The announcement comes as Oromia International Bank said it started implementing an agent and mobile banking system on March 3, 2015.
With 92 million people and only 10 per cent of the population accessing banking services, Ethiopia is a strategic market for banking groups. Twenty banks are currently operating in the country.