The Role of Agency Banking in Promoting Financial Inclusion: Descriptive Analytical Evidence from Tanzania

Josephat Lotto


The objective of this paper was to assess the leverage provided by agency banking in promoting the financial inclusion in Tanzania. The study was descriptive in nature and utilized primary data collected from bank agents’ outlets in Dar es Salaam. Overall, the study was very important as it tells how financial inclusion in Tanzania has been accelerated by use of agency banking practices.The analytical results of the study show that agency banking has helped to simplify banking service by reducing distance for customers to reach service point. The study has also found that liquidity problem is not a big concern as the agents’ operation are properly scrutinized and monitored by the parent banks to avoid cash shortage crisis and minimizes security issues. It is also found in the study that agency banking costs are reported to be lower compared to those of traditional banking services. It is therefore concluded, from this study, that greater geographical coverage brought about by agency banking is a stronger promoter of financial inclusion because services follow people closer to where they leave and hence reduce the travelling costs and other hassles involved like time wasted in long queues at bank branches. Agency banking model is therefore a success as regards to deepening financial inclusion. However, because the concept of agency banking is now widespread  banks’ practice to risk management should be emphasized so as to avoid entering into agency contract with bank agents whose credentials are doubtful. In addition to that efforts have to be made to increase the number of outlets providing bank agency services so as to achieve a greater geographical coverage. Apart from that all commercial banks offering agency banking services should limit operational costs on bank agents in order to avoid the increase in cost of services to customers. Concerning security, emphasis should be put on all agency banking outlets and more frequent monitoring to be carried out as discussed in the previous section. Lastly, financial education should be provided to help customers understanding the operations of agents and assure the security of their money.

Key words: Agency, banking, security, cost, Geographical coverage, financial inclusion

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