By Ernest Mwale, Contributor
NBS Bank has grown its agency banking footprint from 345 agents in 2019 to over 1000 agents currently. This is one of the initiatives the Bank has implemented to enhance financial inclusion in Malawi.
NBS Bank Chief Executive Officer Kwanele Ngwenya said in an exclusive interview recently that the Bankhas in the last two years intensified its agency banking section known as ‘Bank Pafupi’ through its partnership with Financial Access for Rural Markets, Smallholders and Enterprises (FARMSE).
This project is aimed at enhancing financial inclusion in the country.
In this respect, NBS Bank has partnered corporate organisations such as AGORA, Malawi Post Corporation, Farmers World and Post Dot Net as Bank Pafupi agents.
As a result, the number of NBS Bank agencies have more than doubled in just under two years, with the numbers set to rise as the initiative intensifies.
“With this expansion, financial services are now available in almost every part of Malawi, thus fulfilling the Bank’s quest to significantly contribute to the reduction of the unbanked population in Malawi,” said Ngwenya.
The Bank also introduced the Tidalilane Group Transactional Account where village banks, another growing financial sector in Malawi, can safely save their group’s money and conveniently transact at an agent.
Ngwenya said the Bank Pafupi initiative has meant that customers no longer have to travel long distances, especially in remote areas of the country, to access banking services.
The agents are present in people’s neighbourhoods, offering a wide range of our services.
Those who were previously unbanked can open accounts through the agents, and customers can securely deposit or withdraw funds from their accounts.
A recent study conducted by the University of Malawi’s Department of Economics in conjunction with the Reserve Bank of Malawi shows that only 31 percent of the surveyed population use bank and semi-formal financial institutions.
Of these, 26.1 percent used credit while 17.5 percent used saving products.
It is this gap that NBS Bank intends to leverage on.