International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, on Wednesday signed an advisory agreement with Fidelity Bank Ghana to expand agent and mobile banking in Ghana. It aims to make financial services more easily available to low-income customers, small-scale entrepreneurs and rural communities.
Fidelity Bank was the first bank in Ghana to deploy agent banking to expand formal financial services to previously unbanked customers. It launched its inclusive banking service Smart Account in 2014 with the goal to reach 5.0 million customers. The initiative is intended to help increase the rate of financial inclusion in Ghana, currently at an estimated 35 percent of the adult population.
Dr. William Derban, Director for Inclusive Banking at Fidelity Bank said, “As the leading bank promoting financial inclusion in Ghana, we understand the needs of the unbanked and we are dedicated to finding innovative solutions to help them. This project will help us promote our agency banking service to help more Ghanaians access basic financial services”.
As part of the three-year advisory project, IFC will provide Fidelity Bank with strategic and technical advice for the expansion of the agent banking service. This will include advice on risk management related to deploying digital financial services and on customer acquisition with a focus on the unbanked.
Ronke Ogunsulire, IFC Country Manager for Ghana, said, “Fidelity Bank is a mobile banking pioneer in its market, and its Smart Account service has already made real impact. There is considerable potential to further advance digital financial services in Ghana, with benefits for individuals as well as the overall economy.”
The project is funded by the Partnership for Financial Inclusion, a $37.4 million joint initiative of IFC and The MasterCard Foundation to expand microfinance and advance digital financial services in Sub-Saharan Africa. The program works with microfinance institutions, banks and mobile network operators across the continent to further financial inclusion.