EQUITY Bank wants to almost triple the number of its agency banking coming December to bring close services to people.
The bank, the largest in East Africa, said it wanted to increase the number of agents from 4,000 to 10,000 by the end of this year.
Equity Executive Director Esther Kitoka said the lender wanted to bring close banking services to customers and cut down operational costs.
“The ‘Wakala’ (agents) will also facilitate Tanzanians to receive money from their relatives living overseas,” Ms Kitoka said.
The executive director said not all agents would have the status to conduct cross-border transactions, but only super agencies.
She said currently there were 200 Equity agents who had the status of super agency across the country and had been authorised to handle international money transfers for cash pickup or direct to bank accounts.
“Our goal is to bring business to our customers and the nation at large when it comes to access to financial services,” she said.
The lender has branches in Kenya—also houses its headquarters—Uganda, Tanzania, DRC, South Sudan and Rwanda. The numbers of brink and mortar branches in six countries are over 250.
Equity Managing Director Robert Kiboti said at the moment 90 per cent of bank transactions were outside the brink and mortar branch system.
“Most of our transactions are conducted outside branches…thanks to digital transformation,” Mr Kiboti said.
The 90 per cent of the transactions performed outside the lender’s branches were via a mobile banking platform of Eazzy-Banking, internet-based known as Eazzy-net, along with wakala.
The lender’s MD said they were now putting more efforts to recruit more agencies of which some would be upgraded to super Wakala status, thus facilitating overseas money transfers at easiness of customers.
“The service (money transfer) is for both our customers and non-customers of the bank,” Mr Kiboti said.
The bank said along with their diaspora products, they also aimed at demonstrating the lender’s long-standing commitment and convenient service to Tanzanians home and abroad.
All these services will be available at bank branches and super agents countrywide.
“Our customers receiving money experience will be simplified as they receive a notification text message once the money is deposited in their accounts or when it is ready for cash pick-ups,” Mr Kiboti said.
To complete the exercise, especially those opting for cash pickup, should visit any of the Equity branches or super agents with valid Tanzania national identification card (ID) and a reference number from the sender.
Equity is one of highly respected financial institutions with an extensive network throughout the country and across the region.
In Tanzania, it has 15 branches, 20 ATMs and 4,000 banking agents and mobile and online banking facilities.