Nigerian Banks’ Killer App – SANEF

Nigerian Banks’ Killer App – SANEF

There is no debate: the most innovative sector in the Nigerian economy is banking. And the Bankers Committee is legendary for what it has achieved in our nation. Why this praise? From BVN (Bank Verification Number) to NIBSS (Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement Systems), the banks have continued to improve their sector, innovating at scale. Yes, if something is missing, they plan and fix that thing by pooling their resources together.

The latest one is a killer “app” designed to mute most fintech competitors while advancing financial inclusion in the nation: Shared Agent Network Expansion Facility (SANEF) is a big deal.

The nation’s banking sector is taking another big leap and responsibility with the Shared Agent Network Expansion Facility (SANEF), as it pursues the realisation of a plan that wholly reflects commitments to achieving the 80 per cent target on financial inclusion, in about 28 months from now.

SANEF, which difference lies with the fact that it is driven, wholly by banks, devoid of any government’s financial interventions, is a scheme that has already brought the lenders to another unanimous position and strong belief in mutually beneficial goal. But mostly, it is part of the industry’s contribution to the national project- Financial System Strategy 2020 (FSS 2020).

This is coming after the bankers, under the aegis of the Bankers Committee, in December 2015, agreed to pool together, five per cent of their respective profit after tax to pursue equity participation in small businesses and lending at single interest rate.SANEF is a project ratified by the Central Bank of Nigeria, owned by Deposit Money Banks, supported by the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement Systems (NIBSS), licensed Mobile Money Operators (MMOs) and the Shared Agents, with the primary objective of accelerating financial inclusion in Nigeria, through a renewed agent network arrangement

This is my prediction: Nigerian banks would seek for a mobile license and do mobile money in their own terms. South African banks have been getting the (virtual) mobile operating licenses; Nigerian banks would join the party as one bloc. When that happens, using any bank web service will come at zero mobile browsing credit. As always, they would not do this directly – they would hold equity in a new entity and with that overcome all regulatory issues from NCC (Nigerian Communications Commission), the telecom regulator.

The green kiosk is not the great stuff here; the innovation is the fact that one agent can serve for all banks. The kiosks will fade but the vision of shared agent would move into an app. That is why I have tilled this piece “Killer App” because SANEF App would be valuable.

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Winning the battle is always different from winning the war, especially in the age of disruptions; because you can still be disrupted, after disrupting someone. And for some of us who understand these battles, there’s nothing like a victory lap, just start readying for the next battle once you finish one.

Obviously the banking sector is a cut above the rest, a case in point is the success of BVN, when compared with the mess we called SIM card registration. Till today, many active phone lines cannot be traced to the identities therein. Let’s not even mention NIN and all our money sucking undertakings.

Until we realise that government cannot successfully drive any policy, except private players take over, then we can moderate our expectations from anything being implemented by government; always ineffective and inefficient.

With SANEF, the banks have essentially democratised financial services, and at the same time – becoming the super aggregators, welcoming others to just come in and have a small cut. Dogs can be giving births here and there, but when an elephant decides to give one, everyone stands still and watch.

It’s a big party, more jobs for the boys and girls all over the country.
After the reggae, play the blues

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