The Chartered Institute of Bankers (CIBN) has introduced agency banking certification programs for point of sales (POS) agents, NIN/BVN agents, agent network managers, customer service officers, and personnel engaged in agent banking within banks and FinTech companies.
The institute announced that the Agent Banking Certification (ABC) program was initiated to tackle capacity issues within the ecosystem.
According to Ken Opara, the President and Chairman of the Council of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN), the certification is designed to equip individuals with well-rounded knowledge, hands-on experience working with industry experts, and active involvement in the established procedures for conducting agent banking services in the country.
- “Agent banking has been the key driver of financial inclusion, which creates financial access points and ultimately eradicates poverty.
- “It is democratizing banking services, taking it to the grassroots and connecting to the nooks and crane of the country.
- “The certification program which details can be accessed on www.myabc.ng provides all-round knowledge, practical engagement with industry experts and participation in standard procedures for conducting Agent banking business in Nigeria,” he said.
In addition, Fasasi Sarafadeen Atanda, a member of the CIBN sub-committee on the Agent Banking Certification program, expressed optimism that Nigerians can anticipate an enhanced level of expertise and professionalism among POS Agents, mobile money agents, and bank customer service desks.
This will result in improved responses when customers are debited by POS, as well as a higher level of understanding from security agents when dealing with certified agents and agent transaction cases.
- “It has been a lot of work from the ideation to conception to the proposition, to adoption and to commission in the programme.
- “There are a lot of complaints about the proliferation of unregistered agents in the ecosystem. What we are doing is banking because when you are doing cash -in cash- out, account opening among others. Most of these services require professionalism.
- “The account opening that we pushed for, resulted in a not palatable experience because a greater percentage of accounts opened at the agent location were used for fraud. This made some banks stop opening accounts at agent locations.
- “Not every agent can handle Biometric Verification Number and National Identity Number, any agent that wants to handle these registrations must be certified by CIBN. We have seen that most of the errors seen in the process are from the agent location.
- “They do sharp practices, unethical practices, not doing due diligence due to poor training and lack of professionalism, if they had passed through this process of certification, they would have been trained on maintaining ethical standards,” he said.
He noted that agents who are handling high-volume transactions have to be professionals.
- “Today, we see agents processing N2.5 million for customers when there are issues on it, they don’t have KYC of such customers. High volume transactions should be processed by certified agents,” he added.