Software Group launches fast-track agency banking to reach Nigeria’s unbanked

Software Group, a global financial technology provider, has announced the launch of its fast-track Agency Banking software for Nigerian banks that want to expand their reach at speed and competitive cost.

The fast-track agency banking is an off-the-shelf solution with standard features for the key transactions, fully managed on the cloud. It is powered by Software Group’s DigiWave banking platform for overall digital transformation.

The new managed software service comes as agency banking is growing exponentially across Nigeria. Top banks, such as Access Bank and FirstBank, have recently added millions of customers through agents, and more than doubled agency transaction volumes.

This recent surge in agency transactions and agents has lifted the proportion of Nigerian adults with a financial account, which rose to between 45 and 50 percent by the end of 2020, as agency banking transactions jumped from three percent of the country’s transactions to 19 percent in a single year.

However, that growth has not yet been enough to achieve the National Financial Inclusion Strategy target of 70 percent financial inclusion by 2020.

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“There is still much to do to deliver financial services to the 38 million Nigerian adults who remain completely unbanked,” Connor Hanan, Software Group’s CEO Africa and Middle East, said.

According to DataPhyte, over two trillion Naira a month of transactions remain unbanked, with 2.72 trillion Naira unbanked in November 2021 alone. Enhancing Financial innovation & Access (EFInA) reports that access to banks remains one of the three biggest barriers to using traditional Nigerian banks for these funds.

“With millions of adults still in need of financial services, and access reported as one of the greatest barriers, our software development has been driven by the need to accelerate the creation of agency networks.

“Using the new managed service, banks can create and roll out agency banking in little more than one month and at a set price that reflects their budget, saving on operational cost and development time,” Connor said.

Software Group has implemented agency banking software in over 20 countries. Using its experience, the company has taken key components from its robust agency banking solution and put them onto a platform in the cloud for the Nigerian launch.

As a result, Nigerian banks can quickly integrate the platform service directly with their core banking software, in just weeks, buying as many features as they like and upgrading whenever they need to.

“In simple terms, with Nigeria having broken into agency banking in a meaningful way in only the last 30 months, we are launching a new managed agency software where we have done everything to provide a ready-made platform,” Conor said.

The software covers all key operations like customer acquisition, deposits, withdrawals, liquidity management, mini statements, and balance enquiries, creates dashboards and reporting, so market penetration can be achieved faster and more cost-effectively.

The company stated that the drive to deliver these gains comes as EFInA reports that 86 million Nigerians suffered livelihood losses through the pandemic, which has seen many who were retrenched now moving into entrepreneurship.