Jaiz Bank Plc is committed to provide financial inclusion to a large segment of the society who are currently financially excluded, its Managing Director Hassan Usman has said.
Speaking at the National Financial Literacy Stakeholders’ Conference in Abuja, Usman said that Jaiz Bank being itself a child of financial inclusion policy of the Federal Government to provide non-interest banking for those who prefer it would ensure that there is deep penetration of financial services to the ordinary citizenry.
He said Jaiz Bank has been part of the process of insuring financial inclusion through agency banking and also the use technology to reach the unbanked.
He said: “We are running a pilot in a village in Katsina State where we will interact with women entrepreneurs that are selling akara (bean cake), ‘fura de nunu’ and such other micro businesses so that we can empower them.
“We are not going there primarily to get deposit but to empower them with small credits so that they will now in turn generate wealth.”
“What we are trying to do at this stage is to empower these women groups both in the villages and the cities so that they can get some financing that they presently lack to develop their business.”
He said the targeted group would be allowed to open account without meeting the strict ‘Know Your Customer’ requirements like utility bills, international passports etc.
“These people don’t have that but the policy allow us to open accounts for people at that level.”
“These accounts are opened as financial inclusion accounts and then graduate into the next level but what we are trying to do is to use channels such as agency banking, our own branches and other digital avenues to allow as many people to come on board and also empower them with little credit,” Usman said.
He said once the pilot programme succeeds in Katsina State, it would then be rolled it out across many other locations.
“We are aggressive in this area of financial inclusion. Our experience with the pilot so far is exiting because people like to be supported.”
“The only challenge is in convincing beneficiaries that the money is not free, that it will have to be repaid. Everyone would like to be supported financially,” he said.