Heritage Bank Plc said it has taken aggressive approach to support the Central Bank of Nigeria’s initiative to curb the unbanked Nigerians in the rural areas by 20 per cent by 2020.
Part of the bank’s efforts to achieve this is to offer financial services to the nooks and crannies of Nigerian communities as well as in providing access to underserved markets.
Heritage Bank which launched its agency banking programme about two years ago, disclosed during the signing up of two agents’ corner shops that it would bring on board 1,000 agent partners by the end of 2017.
The two corner shops opened over the weekend were High Rise Business Centre in Simawa community behind Redeemed Convention Camp and Layeni Folayemi Enterprises in Omu Ijebu, both in Ogun State.
According to a statement, as at June 2017, the agent base had grown at an average rate of 50 new agent sign ups monthly bringing the total number of active agents to about 450 and growing.
At the steady growth rate of approximately 17.5 per cent new agent per month on can say that hitting the long term vision of 100, 000 active agents in five years is well within reach, the bank stated.
Speaking at the inauguration of the agent, Zonal Business Coordinator, South-West, South-South, Agent Banking, Heritage Bank, Oluwakemi Adewunmi, noted that there was indeed a gap in the community without any financial institution to service the need of the people.
Adewunmi assured that with the new development, accessing banking services in Omu Ijebu and Simawa areas have become easier for all the people in the community.
“It does not matter whether you have your bank account with Heritage Bank or otherwise, the mobile POS deployed by the agent will make banking at the people’s doorstep so easy and stress-free,” it added.
The latest however came with a peculiarity as a community leader and politician, Olatunde Rotimi Paseda, an indigene of Omu Ijebu released a property to the bank for the purpose of financial inclusion.
Paseda, a governorship aspirant under the Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN) in 2015 general elections, released the building to the bank in order to cushion the stress the indigenes of the locality faced anytime they wanted to transact banking business.
Before now, the people living in the neighbourhood and its environs used to travel to Ijebu Ode where banks have their branches located before they could carry out even the basic banking obligation.
The Promoter of Layeni Folayemi Enterprises, Corner Shop, Mrs. Layeni Folayemi, who made the disclosure at the launch of the agent outlet, acknowledged that the presence of Heritage Bank in Omu Ijebu would greatly help to alleviate the pains the people hitherto experienced in accessing bank for financial transactions.