Eclectics International, a Kenyan Fintech company has successfully developed and deployed a proprietary shared agency banking platform in Uganda, the first in Africa.
A Shared Agency Banking Platform uses an approach that allows several financial institutions to share agency banking tools and technology in serving the customers.
This initiative was launched in May 2018 between the Ugandan bankers’ association and the bank of Uganda. It aims to broaden financial inclusion by extending financial services to the under-banked and unbanked population many of who reside in the peri-urban and rural areas having no easy access to banking facilities.
This effort has yielded massively. It has increased the number of bank account holders in Uganda from 7.4 million in 2017 to over 13 million by January 2021.
The Shared Agency Banking Platform has since been recognized and applauded by the IFC and the World Bank as a first in Africa.
Shared Agency Banking is a technological process that enables the banked, under-banked, and unbanked population to access financial services using a shared platform. In this situation, banks in Uganda are now using a shared platform instead of deploying their own exclusive agency banking platform.
In Uganda, Eclectics Agency Banking Solution now processes over one million monthly customer transactions of more than $160 million monthly. These include cash deposits, withdrawals, school fees, bill payments, and social security and local remittance fees.
Financial inclusion is still a major challenge in Africa. Agency banking enables banks to extend their services through a branch network of authorized agents at affordable rates. This checks the glitch that has prevented the unbanked Ugandan population from having a bank account.
An application is installed in one central place and uses common physical infrastructure which includes servers, power, network, and devices. POS terminals or mobile phones are used by bank agents spread across the country to facilitate it.
This means that any bank customer from the 24 commercial banks in Uganda can visit any agent and access financial services such as cash deposits, cash withdrawals, account opening, funds transfer, cash bill payments, etc.
The CEO, Eclectics International, Mbugua says, “Just to give a highlight, the overall project was to integrate the shared agency banking platform with the core banking systems and switches of each of the 24 banks; integrate to almost a similar number of card management systems and integrate to the telcos. In each of the four telcos, we had to integrate with the USSD platform, mobile money cash in and cash out which are two different APIs, SMS among other services they offer in addition to more than 20 billers in the country government systems.
Even if we had a near-ready product, the biggest job was the integration, which is part of the onboarding in any bank. Remember, some of these banks are multinationals. They rely on international standards to allow any of their data or systems for any of their customer who uses their platforms.”
A total of 15,600 agents were mobilized across the country through the development partner FSD Uganda. In contrast, there were only 546 bank branches in Uganda by 2017, and the banking sector employed about 11,000 people.
Eclectics International Limited is a Kenyan-based and owned organization operating in 25 African countries that provide financial solutions to support banks, microfinance institutions, Sacco’s/cooperatives.
The company has operated for over ten years and assists financial institutions to increase their efficiency and effectiveness by developing and supporting their proprietary custom-made solutions.
The company’s target goal goes beyond providing ICT solutions to the banking sector, it encompasses moving Africa to the next level of ensuring that financial services are accessible to everyone and in that capacity ensure the enterprise flourishes, creating a win-win situation across the board.
Eclectics had created employment for over 200 software developers of an average age of 27, and more in other related angles. Eclectic provides state-of-the-art tailor-made and bespoke software solutions for the banking, financial, agricultural, transport, and public sector.
They have been a market leader in the provision of affordable, innovative solutions within the continent by being the center bolt upon which multiple transactions are anchored through the solutions offered by Eclectics.