The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), earlier in its quest to reduce the number of Nigerians excluded from financial services from 46.3% to 20.0% by year 2020 based on its earlier commitment to the Maya Declaration, had in October 2012 set up the National Financial Inclusion Strategy (NFIS). A key part of this Strategy involved the establishment of Payment Service Banks with the aim of breaking the traditional barriers to financial inclusion and promoting low cost, convenient and secure financial services for all adult Nigerians, especially those at the bottom of the pyramid.
Six years later, precisely on October 26, 2018, the CBN issued the Guidelines for the Licensing and Operation of Payments Service Banks, which in turn led to its approval for three Payment Service Banks to start operations on 28th of August 2020.
In November of 2020, 9 Payment Service Bank (9PSB) became the first Payment Service Bank to commence operations, with a promise to provide simple, convenient, and reliable channels for every Nigerian with a mobile phone to conduct financial services literally at their fingertips.
Two years on, 9PSB is staying true to this commitment by offering streamlined financial services while leveraging innovative digital technology to address the needs of customers as well as to provide them with seamless access to online and offline banking and payment experience.
9PSB also runs a scalable and sustainable agent banking model with the aim to reach the last mile. Through these well trained and well supported agents and partners, 9PSB provides local banking centres to every nook and cranny of the country, ensuring that financial services are delivered to the doorsteps of all Nigerians irrespective of their geographical location.
For 9PSB, financial inclusion is more of a social objective needed to address income inequality, combat poverty, and preserve social harmony. Therefore, through strategic partnerships with critical stakeholders in various sectors, the bank is helping to provide easy, accessible, and affordable financial services.
Speaking about the Bank’s role and vision to streamline the country’s financial services as well as to facilitate business growth, Branka Mracajac, Chief Executive Officer, 9PSB, remarked that the Bank is committed to driving socio-economic growth through financial inclusion. She said, “Our value proposition is to be a reliable growth partner, offering simple yet robust products and solutions tailored to key segments: Customers, Businesses and Agents.”
It is noteworthy to mention that 9PSB’s efforts to bridge the exclusion gap is guided by carefully crafted Pillars of Financial Inclusion, which include: driving localised financial literacy programmes; bridging the infrastructure gap for the underserved by ensuring access to low-cost financial services; supporting the growth of Nigeria’s economy; enabling nationwide development and eradication of poverty; contributing to driving cash to cashless economy through grassroots initiatives and activities; providing customer service excellence adjusted to the financially excluded population; and empowering women, youth and other vulnerable groups through job creation and education.
And in constantly seeking solutions to the myriad of challenges that have long been the major barriers to a truly inclusive economy in Nigeria, 9PSB recently created a custom-tailored solution: Bank9ja. This is a bank agnostic mobile App and web platform designed to serve both the completely financially excluded and the included but underserved in society, by allowing easy access and connection for any bank or fintech customer.
Furthermore, recognising the critical importance of effective and continuous delivery of financial literacy programmes that are adjustable to target audiences, 9PSB has in collaboration with other stakeholders developed a Financial Literacy Strategy intended to be implemented pan-Nigeria in all key languages for ease of understanding. These laudable efforts have since earned it the recognition of the CBN, with the apex bank inviting 9PSB as a stakeholder and a member on the CBN-led Community of Practice (COP) charged with developing and crafting a strategy framework to “Leverage Agent Networks for Women’s Financial Inclusion in Nigeria.”
In the same vein, 9PSB’s innovative approach to delivering solutions that promote financial inclusion by breaking barriers to inclusion has equally been recognized on a global scale by Global Brands Magazine, organisers of the Global Brands Award. The award, which honours excellence in performance and recognition for companies across different sectors, saw 9PSB clinch the award for Best New Payment Service Bank 2022.
Speaking on the recognitions, Shola Ogunyemi, Head, Marketing Communications & Customer Experience at 9PSB, remarked that the award validates 9PSB’s commitment to deepening Nigeria’s financial inclusion efforts. According to him, “This is a boost to do more and impact the society. At 9PSB, we are uncompromising about the ultimate goal and are resolutely on a mission to Bank9ja. These recognitions confirm that we are doing the right thing in our drive to close Nigeria’s financial exclusion gap. We will continue to work closely with our agents and partners to ensure that in no distant time, every Nigerian has access to seamless financial services,” he stated.