On On May 17, 2016, FINCA Microfinance Bank Nigeria launched FINCA eXpress in Owerri, Imo State, which came off as Nigeria’s first successful agency banking model at the microfinance level. The model had received the approval of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
FINCA Microfinance Bank Ltd Nigeria is part of the FINCA Impact Finance Network, a group of 21 community based microfinance institutions and banks that provide responsible financial services that enable low-income entrepreneurs and small business owners to invest in their future. With over 30 years of experience and a mostly local staff of over 10,000. The FINCA Impact Finance is committed to delivering services under a double bottom line of sustainability and social impact.
It began operations in Nigeria in December 2014, and now serves over 20,700 active clients through its branches in Imo State. Globally, the FINCA microfinance network serves over 1.6 clients in 21 countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America and Europe.
FINCA eXpress provides clients with unlimited, reliable and secured access to financial services. Clients now have access to their accounts and loans, they are able to withdraw and make deposits into their accounts, repay or withdraw their loans, check and print off their bank balances, print their bank statements, transfer funds from their FINCA account to other FINCA accounts and make third party deposits without paying for these services, going to the bank, spending longer time in carrying out their banking due to long queues in the bank.
By far, FINCA eXpress has been a huge success in just a year. In March, FINCA was awarded the Best Agency Banking Provider in Nigeria during the Cashless Africa Awards & Expo, organized by Mobile Money Africa in Lagos, Nigeria.
Agency banking is the provision of financial services to customers by a third party (agent) on behalf of a licensed deposit taking financial institution – bank. Within the FINCA network, FINCA eXpress was first introduced in its subsidiary in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2011, followed by Zambia and Tanzania in 2015, in two subsidiaries. Today, FINCA has over 1,300 agents across Africa with DR Congo having over 1,000 agents.
For Nigeria (Owerri), FINCA began its agency banking with three pilot agents: Chioma Nwokocha of Pearl Bridal, Patrick Nwiru of Float Expertech Ventures and Ifeoma Thaddeus of Taddy G. Ventures and within a year, the number has grown to over 20 agents all over Owerri. The agents serve these clients 24/7. At the last agent forum held at Rockview Hotel, 3 agents were rewarded exceptionally for their commitment and dedication to FINCA eXpress, the customer experience they offer to FINCA clients, lastly the agent with the highest transactions both in value and number of transactions.
Ifeoma Thaddeus of Taddy G Ventures, one of the pioneer FINCA eXpress agents, appreciated FINCA for the opportunity given to her to support her husband in catering for their family with the commission she earns through agency banking, also that it is a thing of joy that she is now an employer of labor as a result of the commission she earns. She employed a sales girl for her primary business while she focuses on the agency banking. She went further to say that, her reputation in the market has increased and FINCA is now the people’s bank in Owerri.
The Chief Executive Officer of FINCA MfB, said that FINCA is a microfinance bank with depth knowledge in microfinancing to change the face of banking with its unconventional approach. Providing reliable and secured access to financial services is the driving force behind it’s launching of FINCA eXpress. FINCA MfB in the nearest future will extend the platform to non-FINCA clients and launching other technology based solutions to financial services.
He expressed gratitude to Enhancing Financial Innovation & Access (EFInA) and MasterCard Worldwide. FINCA received support from EFInA, a UK DFID funded financial sector development organization that promotes financial inclusion in Nigeria, and MasterCard Worldwide for FINCA eXpress.
In Nigeria, it is a requirement by banks for customers to provide valid formal identification, pay monthly account maintenance and transaction charges, and pay for accessibility through issuance of bank card. These requirements have created a lot of barriers for 56% of adults in Nigeria. FINCA eXpress has greatly removed the barriers to access to financial services, especially in Owerri. The Bank’s customers have had unlimited access to their accounts – ability to withdraw, make deposits, repay their loans, make transfers from their FINCA account to another FINCA account, print their statement and check their account balance without paying for any of these services or leaving their businesses. The transactions are authenticated by clients biometric. Without the client’s fingerprint, transactions will not be permitted on the platform.
FINCA Microfinance Bank Nigeria has made great strides in its 2 years of operation, reaching more people with critical financial services. With over 20,700 clients, it has mobilized cumulative deposit of over ₦1 billion in voluntary savings, while clients have accessed over ₦4 billion in loans. FINCA is truly committed to its mission and focused on creating brighter future for its clients and their community.