Following the publication of the “Guidelines on Agent Banking for Banking Institutions” issued by the Bank of Tanzania (BoT) in early February, Tanzania Postal Bank (TPB) is the first bank to introduce agents to broaden the number of bankable population.
TBP Chief Manager for e-banking, Mr Mshamma K. Mshamma stated that the service will be rolled out next month after scrutinizing agents who have submitted their applications.
Banking agents would combine bank transactions and mobile payment facilities for ‘cash-in and out process’ and will also be given Point-of-Sales (PoS) gadgets.
Official records show that hardly 14% of Tanzania’s population is having access to formal banking services.
Banking agency is a service that targets specifically rural communities who are mostly outside the financial system brackets.
So far, reaching such clients has been often prohibitively expensive for financial institutions since transaction numbers and volumes do not cover the cost of a branch.
The banking agent, rather than a branch teller, is the employee or owner of a retail store which conducts the transactions and provides all the other basic banking services (deposit, withdraw, transfer funds).
Last month TPB conducted banking agents trials using its staff in Kilwa District, southeast Tanzania, and in two days 147 people opened savings accounts. This demonstrates the need of such service in rural areas.
The guidelines have been issued very recently and are part of BoT’s vision for a comprehensive financial system to grant access of quality and affordable basic banking service to the whole Tanzanian population.