Mr Patrick Akinwuntan, Chairman Accion Microfinance Bank Ltd, on Thursday called for collaboration by stakeholders and regulators to achieve 80 per cent financial inclusion target by 2020.
Akinwuntan made the call during the company’s 2019 Financial Inclusion Seminar with the theme: “Digitization as a tool for deepening financial inclusion and the role of regulation’’.
He said that total collaboration of stakeholders and regulators were needed to get to the unbanked, considering the population of the country.
“Very significantly, the need for more collaboration for a country as big as Nigeria; not one entity can deliver that goal.
“It is a huge market. We need collaboration from telecoms.
“The cost of data services, the cost of SMS messages and all that, need to be brought to a lower level so that many people can participate.
“We need to move faster. We need the regulators to move faster.
“It is true that capital is needed to look at how various participants in the ecosystem can get at the table and explain what their constraints are,’’ Akinwuntan said.
He said that regulators and stakeholders needed to bring ideas together to scale up the current figure and achieve the 80 per cent financial inclusion target by 2020.
Also speaking, Mr Taiwo Joda, Accion Managing Director, expressed the bank’s readiness to leverage financial technology to boost its operations.
Joda said that 80 per cent of the company’s activities were already automated; ranging from loan creation to appraisal and disbursement to increase financial inclusion.
He disclosed that by the first quarter of 2019, the bank would roll out a fully-digitalised end to end product that would enable it attract more customers.
According to him, with this, the company will be a pioneer in deploying financial technology in the Microfinance space.
Speaking on its activities during the year, Joda said that the bank had increased its footprint in seven states from the initial five states recorded at the beginning of the year.
“We have over 3,000 active accounts and that is why we are growing so quickly and fast.
“We are also deploying technology to drive down cost and ensure we scale significantly to ensure that we penetrate areas that we are not currently operating,’’ he said.
Joda said that the bank had concluded plans to cover the 36 states of the federation in the next five years.
He disclosed the bank’s plan to be listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) in the near future to enable Nigerians become part owners of the business.
“We have also stated that our medium plan is to open up our shareholding to Nigerians to become direct shareholders of Accion.
“We will announce a clear plan on that at the next Annual General Meeting,’’ Joda said.