The Managing Director of Inlaks, Femi Adeoti, has said that the provision of basic infrastructure in the country will help to speed up the process of bringing more Nigerians into the formal financial system.
According to the Central Bank of Nigeria [CBN], there are 30 million bank accounts in Nigeria. This was the result of the Bank Verification Number [BVN] exercise conducted by the CBN.
From this number, Adeoti said there are over 40 million Nigerians that are not included in the financial system. “They are excluded. We need to get them included”.
However, Adeoti revealed that there are only 17,000 ATMs all over the country. “We have 1 ATM to 5,600 people. It looks we have gone far but we have more grounds to cover. Many people have mobile phones but they are among the 40 million people without bank account. We still many more people without accounts”, he said.
Speaking in Lagos at the 2017 TEDxIkeja under the topic “Who Needs Financial Inclusion”; Adeoti said financial inclusion has become a buzzword and that it is “the provision of broad financial products. These products must be relevant, appropriate, and affordable”.
Specifically, he elaborated that 61% of adult Nigerian that are excluded from the formal financial systems are less than 65 years. “These people are upwardly mobile but they are not included”.
To bring these people into the formal financial system, Adeoti listed the ATM, agent banking, mobile banking, e-wallet, internet banking, and call centre banking as channels that would make it possible.
According to him, building bank branches is not in vogue as it is quite expensive to maintain. He therefore informed that the banks are using a combination of these channels to reach the excluded Nigerians and bring them into the formal financial system.
He said the regulatory framework should be aligned with the current pace of innovation, adding that the availability of accurate data would also ensure that the 40 million people are included in the formal financial system.
“Data is important. It is what you measure that you can manage. If you do not have data, you cannot manage it. We have some assumptions in our minds. However, when you get accurate data, you can plan.
“Nigerians are replicating bank accounts. That is why the banks were also shocked when the BVN result was announced. If you do not have data, you cannot plan effectively”, he said.