Fidelity Bank has inaugurated its new banking model, known as Fidelity Agency banking, which allows the bank to use shops and supermarkets as bank agents, called as Fidelity Smart Agents.
The Deputy Managing Director of the bank, Mr Jim Baiden, said at the launch in Accra that the revolutionary concept was part of Fidelity Bank’s financial inclusion strategy to provide Banking services to all, leaving no one behind.
“The vision of Fidelity Bank in this innovative strategy is to promote financial inclusion by ensuring that anyone who is bankable can receive a full bank account, in spite of any limitations they may have that previously excluded them from accessing banking services,” he said.
Mr Baiden added that the bank was offering customers under agency banking a full Bank Account within five minutes of contacting any of the dedicated staff or designated retail agents across the country.
The Managing Director of the bank, Mr Edward Effah, noted that the introduction of Fidelity Agency Banking was not just another product from another Bank to make money but an important journey by the bank to offer all Ghanaians access to formal Banking.
He said in the three months pilot phase, 130,000 accounts were opened with about 100 Smart Agents and that the bank was optimistic that with 500 Smart Agents, it would open over a million accounts every year.
The First Deputy Governor of the Bank of Ghana, Mr Millison Narh, the guest speaker, lauded Fidelity Bank for the innovative service, describing the initiative as a timely policy drive, especially as Ghana in 2011 made financial inclusion commitments referred to as the “MAYA Declaration” in Mexico, pledging to reduce Ghana’s financial exclusion rate which was currently on the high side.
Statistics indicate that there are about 2.5 billion unbanked individuals around the world and in Ghana about 70 per cent of the adult population is unbanked.
The Director of financial inclusion at Fidelity Bank, Dr William Derban, said about 1,200 Smart Accounts were being opened every day because of proximity, convenience and the simplicity in opening the Smart Account.
He added that other services such as insurance, credit facilities, and investments would be made available to Smart Account holders.
Agency Banking and Smart Accounts
Fidelity is currently the only bank with agency banking licence, an innovative product which allows the bank to partner consumer outlets such as pharmacies, grocery shops and supermarkets to become agents that will offer basic financial services to the public on behalf of the bank.
The Agency Banking product, which ties in with the bank’s Fidelity Smart Account, enables individuals to open an account almost instantly with a valid photo identity and a minimum of GH¢10, half of which will be one’s opening balance.
The account holder is immediately given an automated teller machine (ATM) card, and a personal identification number (PIN).