The Uganda Bankers Association has launched the Shared Agent Banking System (SABS) in an effort to increase financial inclusion and enable spread and penetration of banking services in Uganda.
Agent banking is an extension of banking services outside the conventional bank branches, where a licensed and supervised financial institution contracts a third party operator or agent, who is approved by Bank of Uganda, to provide permitted financial services on its behalf.
The Shared Agent Banking System is an initiative of Uganda Bankers Association that enables connectivity between member banks to enable agents serve customers of any other member bank to minimize duplication of agency networks and increase/maximize points of presence to ensure coverage across the country.
Through the National Financial Inclusion Strategy (NFIS) launched on 26th October 2017, the Government of Uganda placed all member banks as implementing partners of the national strategy. The Bank of Uganda approved the SABS on the 28th of December 2017 for members of the Association to conduct agent banking business.
Seven banks are already connected on to the SABS include; Stanbic, Barclays, Bank of Africa, Diamond Trust, DFCU, Housing Finance, GT Bank. Fourteen additional Banks are at different stages of the integration process and securing the necessary regulatory approvals.
Speaking at the official launch event, the Executive Director, Uganda Bankers’ Association, Wilbrod Owor said launching the SABS is a major milestone for the banking sector in Uganda, noting that extension of banking services and bringing on board the bigger proportion of the population to the formal banking system is the ultimate objective of the initiative.
Richard Yego, the acting Chief Executive Officer of Agent Banking Company explained that an agent banker could be a petrol station, a supermarket, a permanent mobile money agent, a pharmacy, a retail shop or hardware store that is fully licensed and has been existence for one year.
Paul Mbugua, the Group Managing Director, Eclectics International Limited, the technology firm that partnered with UBA to develop the platform, said they have been able to build a secure and inter-operable platform that will facilitate access to real time transactions.