In March 2009, EFInA hosted its inaugural Innovation Forum, themed: ‘Transforming Access to Finance though Branchless Banking’ in Lagos. Branchless banking is the delivery of financial services outside conventional bank branches, using information and communication technologies and non-bank retail agents.
Modupe Ladipo, Chief Executive Officer, EFInA stated that the results from EFInA’s Access to Financial Services in Nigeria 2008 survey, showed of the 21% of the adult population (18 million people) who are currently banked, 80% take public transport to get to their bank; 38% stated that it takes an average of 15 minutes to get to the bank; whilst it takes 30 minutes for 28% of them. For those who take public transport to get to their bank, in terms of the cost of a one way trip – 25% spend between N21-N50, 26% spend between N51-N100 and 25% spend over N100.
The keynote speaker at the Forum was Mr. Bernard Matthewman, Group Managing Director, Paynet. The Paynet Group comprises of PesaPoint Limited, Paynet Africa, EFT Kenya and Paynet Zimbabwe. Pesapoint Limited’s goal is to provide all banked Kenyans with easy access to their funds, wherever and whenever it is required; whilst at the same time encouraging more Kenyans to bank by providing relevant and convenient ATM locations. M-PESA customers can withdraw their money at PesaPoint ATMs. Mr. Matthewman concluded that branchless banking provides a great opportunity for extending financial services to a wider audience.
The EFInA Innovation Fund was also launched at the Forum. The Innovation Fund is a special facility within EFInA that seeks to promote innovation in the development of financial services and thus expand access to finance to the underserved population in Nigeria. EFInA will share the risk of developing and implementing new innovations by providing a grant subsidy for commercial projects.