BusinessDay

Wema Bank business leaders highlight how POS channel boosts financial inclusion

The creation of the agent banking system by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the subsequent roll-out and deployment of the point of sale (POS) terminals by banks and other operators of mobile money have been described as a policy masterstroke in boosting and expanding financial inclusion drive in the country.

This is the view of two senior officers of Wema Bank Plc, Damola Bolodeoku, Head, E-Business, and Adekunle Alarapon, Head Retail Segments, respectively.

Both men spoke on an NTA Network programme, “Weekend Deal” which x-rayed the benefits and challenges of PoS since its inception.

Specifically, Bolodeoku said the PoS business has witnessed 86% growth in the last two years and has helped to bring a large segment of Nigeria’s informal and unbanked population into the formal financial system.

According to him, financial service delivery has become easier, especially in the rural areas where physical banks are not present, through the massive deployment of POS terminals.

On dispute resolution protocols arising from dispense error and fraud, Bolodeoku advised POS customers to lodge complaints with their banks immediately for proper investigation to be conducted and the disputes resolved.

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On the monitoring and supervisory framework developed by banks to monitor the operations of POS, Bolodeoku explained that direct bank agents appointed by the banks are monitored through due diligence and Know-Your-Customer exercise.

“The banks that appointed them in case of fraudulent reports against them can sanction such agents,” he buttressed.

He recommended that network connectivity should be improved upon for efficient operations, as this will further boost the operations of the PoS in the country.

In his contributions, Alarapon disclosed the CBN is pushing financial inclusion through agent banking to integrate about N2.6 trillion in the informal and unbanked sector.

According to him, CBN’s target has been to achieve about 25percent financial inclusion of the adult Nigerian population within a short time.

Alarapon also refuted claims that banks are deliberately pushing customers to their POS terminals to earn a commission.

“It is not true. The CBN is only trying to bring most Nigerians into the financial system through the POS. Wema Bank, for instance, charges low. For withdrawals from N1000 to N5000, we charge N30. For withdrawals from N5100 to N10,000, we charge N50, and so on. And we still pay the switch company,” Alarapon explained.

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