FINCA Impact Finance Partners with Comic Relief and Jersey Overseas Aid to Transform Agent Network in Zambia
GBP 800,000 in funding will support upgrading FINCA Zambia’s agent banking network, reaching underserved population segments through financial technology innovation.
December 3, 2018, Lusaka, Zambia – FINCA Impact Finance and the partnership between Comic Relief and Jersey Overseas Aid, named Branching Out: Financial Inclusion at the Margins, announced an agreement to support the development of agent banking in Zambia. Under the agreement, the UK-based Branching Out initiative will provide GBP 800,000 in grant funding disbursed over four years to support upgrading FINCA Zambia’s network of banking agents. One of 20 subsidiaries that make up FINCA Impact Finance’s global network of banks and microfinance institutions, FINCA Zambia will also invest GBP 575,000 into its agency network, a third-party service delivery model enabled by financial technology innovation.
Financial Technology Innovation Makes Financial Services Accessible
FINCA Zambia’s agent network will expand from its current number of 74 to 800, with each agent equipped with a tablet enabling them to process loan applications and new account openings in just minutes. FINCA Zambia banking agents also use biometric identification to protect clients against fraud. Through the expansion of the agent network, FINCA Zambia and Comic Relief will ensure that 385,000 clients are able to conduct their day-to-day banking within one hour’s distance from their home.
“The partnership with Comic Relief and Jersey Overseas Aid will allow FINCA Zambia to reach more people with the responsible financial services they need”, said FINCA Zambia CEO Douglas Kamwendo. “We will have roughly one agent per 1,000 people in the Chipata and Kasama districts, ensuring that our clients can access their bank accounts and make their loan repayments without traveling long distances.”
Project Will Transform FINCA Zambia’s Business Model
The project will expand the agent network while evolving its business model to better meet the needs of customers. The new investment will support capacity building, identifying qualified agents and providing them with the training and resources necessary to dispense information on financial literacy, consumer protection and the financial products best suited to the client’s specific needs. Agents will have access to e-learning modules accessible by tablet.
“Not only will our agents provide valuable financial services, they will be catalysts for financial literacy and trusted ambassadors for FINCA Zambia”, said Kamwendo. “The goal is not only to increase the number of agents but to increase the capacity of agents so they are able to create more value for our clients.”
The project will expand financial inclusion in a country where roughly 57 percent of the population live in rural areas and often have to travel for hours to reach the nearest bank branch. Moreover, many people in Zambia lack the financial literacy necessary to fully benefit from available financial products and services.
FINCA Zambia first launched agent banking in 2015 as a means to use financial technology innovation to expand financial inclusion to individuals, families and communities who don’t live in close proximity to a brick-and-mortar bank branch. The agent network operates alongside FINCA Zambia’s 14 branches. Roughly one-quarter of the institution’s total financial transactions are currently processed by banking agents.
Given the continued need for financial inclusion in Zambia—54% of the population remains unbanked according the World Bank’s Findex 2017 report—scaling-up the agent banking network can empower large numbers of people to take control of their financial futures.
About Comic Relief
Comic Relief is a UK charity which aim to create a just world, free from poverty – where everyone is safe, healthy, educated and empowered. Since 1985, Comic Relief has raised over £1 billion. That money has helped, and is helping, people living incredible tough lives, both here at home in the UK and across the world. For information about Comic Relief and the work it carries out, please visit www.comicrelief.com.
Comic Relief is the trading name of Charity Projects, a registered charity in England and Wales (326568) and Scotland (SC039730), which is a company limited by guarantee registered in England and Wales (01806414) with its registered address at Hanover House, 14 Hanover Square, London, W1S 1HP.
About Jersey Overseas Aid
Jersey Overseas Aid (JOA) is an international aid agency funded by the States of Jersey that has been providing life-changing assistance to people in developing countries since 1968. Financial Inclusion is one of the agency’s priority funding streams, along with Dairy for Development and Environment & Livelihoods.
About FINCA Zambia
Launched in 2001, FINCA Zambia is part of FINCA Impact Finance’s global network of 20 banks and microfinance institutions that profitably and responsibly provides impactful financial services to enable low-income individuals and communities to invest in their futures. For more information, visit FINCAImpact.com and FINCA.co.zm and follow on Twitter @FINCAImpact.