Eco Bank pioneers Agency Banking in Gambia
As a leading pan-African bank in The Gambia, Eco Bank has yesterday launched a new banking service in partnership with a number of retail agencies across the country. The bank will hence work with these agencies to deliver services to remotest parts of the country.
According to the World Bank, only 34 percent of adults in Sub-Saharan Africa had a bank account in 2014, compared to 24 percent of the same demography in 2011. Until now, Eco Bank customers have had to visit banking halls to transact on their Xpress Accounts or generate an e-token via the Mobile App to withdraw funds from ATMs.
“With Ecobank Agency banking, we are bringing banking even closer to your doorsteps. This service expands Ecobank’s network and will enable our customers to deposit with or withdraw funds from our accredited agents, within their communities,” the bank’s Managing Director Josephine Anan-Ankomah explained.
“With the launch of our Agency Banking services today, Ecobank is stepping up the ante and raising the bar even higher,” Anan-Ankomah said.
She added that Agency Banking therefore comes at an opportune time in the bank’s digital journey. “It is the key component that completes the Digital Financial Services Ecosystem that Ecobank is creating in a bid to contribute to the Financial Inclusion agenda of The Gambian government,” she added.
The Ecobank Agency Banking product is meant to bring financial services to everyone, said Lamin Camara, permanent secretary, Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs.
Camara, in a statement read on behalf of the minister of Finance, said it is in line with government’s support to promote financial inclusion in The Gambia, and also to touch the vast majority of the under-banked and the unbanked who live and work in the informal economy with less access to financial services including finance from the formal sector.
“Poverty and income inequalities remain a stubborn challenge in Sub-Saharan Africa despite the region’s rapid economic expansion in previous decades, which lifted millions out of poverty. Financial inclusion is often considered as a critical element that makes growth inclusive as access to finance can enable economic agents to make longer-term consumption and investment decisions, participate in productive activities, and cope with unexpected short-term shocks,” Camara indicated, arguing that understanding the link between financial inclusion, poverty, and income inequality at the country level will help policymakers design and implement programmes that will broaden access to financial services, leading to reduction of poverty incidence and income equality.
The first deputy governor of the Central Bank, Dr. Saikou Jabbie, said he was informed the Ecobank Agency Banking services have been developed with majority unbanked and underbanked in mind, to lower barriers to finance.
“Financial inclusion is often considered as a critical element that makes growth inclusive as access to finance can enable economic agents to make long term consumption and investment decisions, participate in productive activities and cope with unexpected short-term shocks,” Dr. Jabbie said.
He posited that together in supporting sustainable development, the partners can hold a future of dignity and opportunity where no one is left out.