Story by: Fred Yaw Sarpong
Ghana Interbank, Payment and Settlement Systems (GhIPSS) and other financial institutions will from August, this year receive €700 million credit facility from the German agency KFW for deployment some financial service equipment.
Apart from GhIPSS and the financial institutions, agents and merchants can access part of the €700 million to roll out branchless banking infrastructure.
The credit facility will be use to provide 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.
The German Government through KFW granted the Government of Ghana the facility over two years ago to support branchless banking and to make banking available to rural communities.
She noted that the facility is a revolving fund spanning a period of ten years, indicating that the financial institutions as well as agents and merchants can access the facility for a longer period.
Head of Business Development at GhIPSS, Mary Dei Sarpong said the facility from KFW is 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 can access the loans via application forms on the GhIPSS website.
She 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.
Mrs. Dei-Sarpong also mentioned that individual Rural and Community banks can apply for the loan through the ARB Apex Bank.
With this facility, Mrs. Dei-Sarpong expects that banks to set up agencies all over, which will offer basic banking services. Also merchants can acquire POSes and offer basic banking services such as cash back, accepting cash deposits in exchange for electronic funds, and other services.
She indicated that the hybrid POSes have bigger memories which will allow merchants and agents to use them for other third party activities.
Officials of GhIPSS and the Consultant working on the KFW facility are currently visiting the banks to walk them through the process of accessing the loan, ahead of the first of August when the application form will 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 visit banking halls. With additional files from GNA