Banks Urged to Expand Financial Inclusion

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Financial institutions have been urged to provide services and products such as micro-insurance, micro-credit, among others.

A communiqué made available to THISDAY by the Consumer Awareness and Financial Enlightenment Initiative (CAFEi), recommended that for people to be financially included, they must be economically included and have access to decent jobs and decent pay.

It also stated that people should also have access to basic payment system, insurance and credit, as well as financial products that would enable them improve their quality of life and grow their wealth.

According to the communiqué, “Expanding branches in the rural areas is therefore not the answer rather a tailored and affordable solution is required to meet the needs and wants of rural customers.

“The influence of technology is primary to improving financial inclusion, and such solutions may include deploying agent banking, USSD, and others.”

It stated that inclusion remains very low (below 10%) in terms of access to insurance and credit, adding that usage of such products on the other hand, depends on people’s level of economic participation and awareness.

CAFEi also noted that the major barrier to financial inclusion was no longer lack of access to financial infrastructure, but inadequate knowledge about available opportunities and inability of existing financial products to cater for the people’s needs.

The group further explained that in a bid to reduce the financial inclusion gaps, the financial sector may need to redirect majority of the resources spent on infrastructure to financial education and enlightenment.

“Fintechs have an opportunity to contribute to improving financial products and services due to their light footprint and innovation. They have however tended to focus on the payment subsector, acting more like pay techs rather than Fintechs.

“Untapped opportunities exist in the area of blockchain which may be leveraged to fix the chronic issue of identity management,” it added.

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