From August 2013, various financial institutions, agents and merchants can access part of a 700-million euro facility to roll out branchless banking infrastructure.
The credit facility, provided by the German agency KFW, will be available for the deployment of e-zwich hybrid Automated Teller Machines (ATM), hybrid Point of Sales (POSes) devices, merchant e-zwich cards as well as agent e-zwich cards and related logistics.
Head of Business Development at GhIPSS, Mrs Mary Dei Sarpong ,said the facility from KFW was a four-year concessionary loan with a year’s grace period, and is to help financial institutions undertake branchless banking by deploying ATMs and POSes, which can accept both e-zwich cards and normal ATM cards.
She said banks, savings and loans companies and rural and community banks as well as merchants and agents could access the loans via application forms on the GhIPSS website.
Mrs Dei Sarpong explained that while the banks could access the loans directly, the savings and loans companies, as well as merchants and agents would only be able to do so through their sponsoring banks.
She also mentioned that individual rural and community banks could apply for the loan through the ARB Apex Bank.
Mrs Dei Sarpong noted that the facility was a revolving fund spanning a period of ten years, indicating that the financial institutions as well as agents and merchants could access the facility for a longer period.
The German Government through KFW granted the Government of Ghana the facility more than two years ago to support branchless banking and to make banking available to rural communities.
Mrs. Dei-Sarpong said with this facility, she expected banks to set up agencies all over to offer basic banking services.
She said merchants could acquire POSes and offer basic banking services such as cash back, accepting cash deposits in exchange for electronic funds, and other services.
Mrs Dei-Sarpong indicated that the hybrid POSes had bigger memories, which would allow merchants and agents to use them for other third party activities.
Officials of GhIPSS and the Consultant working on the KFW facility were currently visiting the banks to walk them through the process of accessing the loan, ahead of the 1st August when the application form would be available.
The Chief Executive of GhIPSS, Archie Hesse, said branchless banking was an effective way of taking banking to the doorsteps of customers.
He expressed the hope that various institutions would go in for the concessionary loan in order to rollout ATMs and POSes, to enable the public have access to basic banking without the need of travelling long distances to banking halls.
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