By Christopher C. Walker
Monrovia — Pan-African bank - Ecobank Liberia Limited - has launched a new banking service in Liberia called Agency Banking which is intended to make banking easy for its clients in Liberia.
The new service of the bank will offer deposit and withdrawal services through accredited agents to reach the most remote areas of the country, the bank Managing Director George Mensah-Asante said at the official launch in Monrovia.
According to the World Bank, only 34 percent of adults in sub-Saharan Africa had a bank account in 2014 up to 24 percent in 2011 while the global system for mobile communication 2016 report revealed that at the end of 2016 there were 420 million Mobile subscribers in Sub -Saharan Africa.
"With Ecobank's banking services, we bring the bank closer to your door. This service expands Ecobank's network and will allow our clients to deposit or withdraw funds from our accredited agents in their communities," said Mr. Mensah-Asante.
"With the launch of Agency Banking services today, Ecobank is stepping up the game and raising the bar even higher," he said.
He noted that previously their customers had to visit their banking halls just to transact on their xpress account or generate etoken via the mobile app to withdraw money, but with the Agency Banking, they are now bringing banking closer to the doorsteps.
He asserted that the Agency Banking is a key component that completes the digital financial service environment that the Pan African bank is creating in a move to support the Government's pro-poor agenda.
The Managing Director disclosed that the new service will immensely create job opportunities for many and enhance the existing businesses of their partners.
For his part, deputy Finance and Development Planning Minister for Fiscal Affairs Samora Wolokolie said the bank's new service is cognizant of the government's pro-poor agenda and is contributing its quota to the country.
"This move by Ecobank is in line with government's support to promote financial inclusion in Liberia and also to touch the vast majority of the under-banked and unbanked who love and work in the informal economy with less access to financial services," he said.
He said the government will assist in ensuring that full intent and purpose of the Agency Banking platform is achieved.
"The government under the leadership of President George Weah will create the enabling environment wherein businesses will excel in their own designs consistent with the laws of Liberia," Wolokolie said.
Also speaking at the official launch, Deputy Central Bank Governor for Economic Policy Dr. Mounir Siaplay, appreciated Ecobank for taking the lead in Agency Banking in Liberia.
He wants other banks in the country to follow the example of Ecobank in offering Agency Banking.
"The CBL is pleased that Ecobank has taken the lead as the first bank in Liberia to launch its Agency Banking platform. The CBL remains committed to providing an environment that will facilitate healthy competition in the financial sector," Dr. Siaplay said.
Ecobank is present in 36 countries in West, Central and Eastern Africa. Launched in 1985, the bank provides both microfinance and traditional financial services. It totals $ 22 billion in assets, 17,500 employees and 1,200 branches in 2017.