Tracom Limited is an Ingenico Group partner with offices in Burundi, Ethiopia, Kenya Malawi, Nigeria, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda & France, working to deliver today’s innovations using tomorrow’s technologies.
In remote communities where nearly two thirds of the population is unbanked, there are vast opportunities for banks to grow. But given the unique combination of language, literacy and distance in this environment, the traditional ‘bricks and mortar’ branch model is becoming a thing of the past. To grow, banks are evolving, and that’s why the Co-operative Bank of Kenya’s field-based agents have been so successful.
Attract the unbanked population
In 2010, the Co-operative Bank of Kenya wanted to reach new markets by offering access to banking services to financially excluded people who are not near a bank branch and who might be unaware of the benefits that banks can offer.
For these customers, bank branches in towns were simply too far away, too expensive to access on a regular basis, and offered few clear benefits.
Overcome the language barrier between financial institutions and unbanked population
There was also a language barrier to overcome – the variety of local dialects, illiteracy and lack of financial understanding meant that providing one single branch would never fully meet the needs of all potential customers in the area. The bank needed a mobile, personal solution that could go directly to its customers and explain the unfamiliar language of banking in a way they could understand and trust.
The Co-operative Bank implemented a branchless agent banking solution in collaboration with Tracom, an Ingenico Partner. Tracom was the end to end solution provider, bringing together trained mobile agents, wireless Ingenico terminals and custombuilt software, which enabled the Co-operative Bank to reach new customers across remote parts of Kenya.
The solution consists of
Create a relationship of trust with the customer by being present daily
Most customers deposit small values of money daily, developing responsible banking habits which also benefit agents and the bank. The Co-operative Bank takes its social responsibility very seriously, and has found that education, even on a small scale, helps create a lifelong, loyal, and trustworthy customer base.
Revenue is generated through a small charge when any transaction is made, thereby incentivising agents to have frequent contact with customers. In fact, 80% of all transactions handled by the bank’s mobile agents are deposits: this is a reassuring sign of financial security for the future. The rest of the transactions are purchases such as bill payments, or cheque cashing.
All the services of traditional bank in a one wireless terminal
Customers also benefit from the ability to get mini statements printed at any time, at no cost. The solution even allows nonbank customers to deposit money into someone else’s account – for example by giving the agent cash to pay school fees or bills directly into a third party account. This is a fast, secure way of paying with no risk of theft or fraud.
Additional revenue for the agents, additional customers for the Bank
Agents get revenue from each transaction which is shared between the agent and the bank. Agents can earn up to 1000 dollars per month, and the success of existing agents encourages others to join. Another key benefit to the bank is the reduction of reliance on physical branches. A visiting agent can meet the needs of dozens of customers in only a few hours, with the added convenience of speaking the local dialect, visiting as often as needed, and being able to offer most of the features customers could access at a branch.
Tracom Limited is an Ingenico Group partner with offices in Burundi, Ethiopia, Kenya Malawi, Nigeria, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda & France, working to deliver today’s innovations using tomorrow’s technologies. Tracom is made up of a research department and a software development house run by local professionals with a wide skill set. This combination provides unrivalled platforms that offer a vital edge in today’s highly competitive environments.