Kenya aims to introduce laws to govern “branchless banking” and help bring mobile financial services to the majority of the country’s people who don’t have the formal means to borrow or save, Finance Minister Uhuru Kenyatta said.
Kenya’s poorest people remain “unbanked” because they mainly live in remote areas and lack transport to travel long distances to the nearest bank branch, Stephen Nduati, head of the Central Bank of Kenya’s National Payments System, said in an interview today.
Proposed changes to the Banking Act, which is now before Parliament and may be passed this year, will allow commercial banks to recruit “agents” to set up front-teller services in convenient locations such as supermarkets, kiosks and pharmacies, he said. They may be equipped with machines, similar to the devices that accept credit or debit cards, to complete transactions, he said.
“The frontiers for doing banking will change whereby you no longer have to enter the front door of a bank,” he said. “It will be like using an ATM but instead we’ll allow the transactions to be done through people.”
About one third of the East African nation’s population doesn’t have a bank account and can’t get credit from lenders, Kenyatta said today in the capital, Nairobi, at a global policy forum for financial inclusion. Another 27 percent can only access money via informal channels such as family and friends, he said.
Mobile money-transfer systems, such as the popular M-PESA which was introduced to Kenya in March 2007, are covered by regulations enacted by the central bank several years ago and have proven adequate, he said.
(Source : http://www.bloomberg.com)