How Bank of Kigali’s Agency Banking has changed access to financial services

A client withdraws money at Bank of Kigali agent outlet in Kimironko, Gasabo District on Monday, September 28. / Photo: Dan Nsengiyumva.

Previously, banking services in the country were characterized by regular and at times bureaucratic processes and procedures such as few working hours and formal locations.

This has been often blamed for limited financial inclusion and low banking penetration.

 

To undo the trend and perception as well as ensure easy access to banking services across the country, Bank of Kigali has been rolling out Agency Banking across the country to reach beyond traditional bank branches.

 

The approach is in response towards goals of increased financial inclusion and ensuring easy access to clients across the country.

 

The model, dubbed BK YACU has been ideal for the lender which is Rwanda’s biggest bank in assets in ensuring access to financial services across the country.

As of June 30, the bank had an Agency Banking network of over 1,900 agents across the country who had processed over 1.7 million transactions valued at Rwf158.8 billion.

According to the bank’s officials, Agency Banking outlets offer a wide range of services reducing the need for clients to walk into traditional branches.

Services offered at outlets include cash deposit, withdrawal, Irembo payments, sending and receiving money from mobile money, cash collection for different companies, bill payments such as utilities and cable TV among others.

Joselyne Mutesi, Digital Business Manager at Bank of Kigali, said that through the model, they have been able to offer a full range of banking services to clients without requiring them to visit BK physical branches.

“We have also been able to deliver financial services in areas beyond the reach of our current traditional branch network,” Mutesi said.

Consequently, queues in Bank of Kigali branches have significantly reduced while the level of customer satisfaction has significantly improved as they can receive services in their neighborhoods.

“Increased customer satisfaction level, customers are happy to get the services closer to their shopping centers. We have been able to contribute to the financial inclusion by banking the unbanked,” she said.

The progress has been facilitated by continued efforts such as adding more services to the agency outlets such as Rwanda Revenue Authority tax payments, more bills among others.

Mutesi said that the bank is also on an intensive agent recruitment process seeking active agents at cell and sector level across all districts.

For businesses that seek to serve as BK Yacu agency outlets, the application process features requirements such as Certificate of Registration of business or Patente), two images of the outlet and passport images of the owner.

Bank of Kigali offers customer care module among other trainings to their agents to ensure that quality of service is similar to that of branch outlets. The bank also supports Agency Banking operators through a dedicated team available 24 hours, 7 days a week to support them and their customers.

Joselyne said that the agency model has been tailor made to improve clients’ convenience availing financial services whenever and wherever needed as well as reducing the cost of access by saving on time and distance covered to reach a traditional branch outlet.

BK Group registered an after-tax profit of Rwf16.1 billion in the first half of 2020, an increase of 10.6 per cent growth compared to Rwf14.6 billion in the same period last year.

The bank subsidiary of the group raked in the largest share of profit raking in Rwf14.5 billion after-tax (a growth from about Rwf12.5 billion in the same period last year).

cmwai@newtimesrwanda.com

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