Agent Banking is getting lots of attractions in Nigeria as one of the surest ways to provide limited banking services to bank customers through the use of agents who usually are not traditional bankers or banking businesses.
Thus, one of the revolutionary players in the sub-sector is Global Accelerex; the in-house Innovation and Technology team developed Accelerex Agent Network Platform, a web-based portal specially designed for Agency Banking business. In this article, Tochukwu Okwuanya analysed the Company’s impact in the market:
How does an organization grow by over 1000% within a year?
While I sat reviewing the numbers, I was nicely surprised at what a team of young men and women, mostly bespectacled like myself had achieved. Somehow, N800,000,000 which was the transaction peak as at December 2018 had been eclipsed in a small matter of 12 months.
I had joined as the Head of Growth three months to the end of the year and was expecting to see a huge number of employees. Instead I saw a handful, not more than a dozen, who shared in a single commitment to leave a mark. The mantra was to build a one-stop shop for financial services agent that will eventually grow into one of the largest and the most transactional agent network in Nigeria.
The strategy was partnership, agility and premium customer service. The market is dynamic and the stakeholders compete among themselves to determine who will respond the fastest. The fastest company to respond usually wins and to the victor, the spoils.
For us, it all started with the Agent Network Platform (ANP), an easy-to-use product that embodies the earnest desires of the agents. A software that is embedded on top a Linux or Android POS capable of processing deposit and withdrawal transactions as well as diverse forms of bill payments has long being the clamor of the agents. With the right partnership, Accelerex delivered just that and went a step further to disrupt by ensuring that agents get this POS free of charge in so far as they are able to meet certain pre-agreed transaction thresholds monthly.
What is more? This product settles transactions instantly. While this sounds simple and straightforward, industry stakeholders understands that this is highly innovative and answers most of the questions the end users, who are often the agents, ask of the Agent Banking products in Nigeria.
However, delivering a brilliant product is only half of the job. A good product is one that has been tested by the market, was proven to solve a need and has added value. Accelerex, using a disruptive distribution network leveraging both a hybrid of channel management, aggregator model, direct sales agents, social media marketing, viral and growth loops, took the product to the market and within one year has registered 6000 agents, has processed close to $200,000,000 and has earned the recognition of top industry stakeholders like SANEF (Shared Agent Network Facility), NIBSS (Nigeria Interbank Settlement Systems) and the partnership of top Commercial Banks who are interested in leveraging a viral, virile network to distribute their products. Added to this, our organization, within one year has earned the partnership of The International Committee of Red Cross, Youth Employment and Social Support Operations of The World Bank and the National Directorate for Employment, organizations and institutions who we help to facilitate some of their programs. We have also successfully piloted digital credit as a product for agents to the effect that Accelerex Agents can access loans, needed for liquidity for their business.
In all of this, the most important parts of our story are the ones we have not written. Looking forward, the team is committed to do crazy numbers. Mr. Samuel Oladimeji, leading Accelerex Network, believes that we can grow by another 1000% in the 2020 business year.
‘Why not?’ he had asked a cross-section of staff, aggregators and agents that the organization hosted for the first Dinner and Award Night, in Ikeja, Lagos, an event which attracted over 200 agents from different parts of Nigeria (Some agents had travelled from Port Harcourt, Bayelsa, Kano and Abuja to join).
There is absolutely no insurmountable impediment on this path. Our intentions are clear and we are deliberate. We can share that our growth curve which saw us do close to N10,000,000,000 in December of 2019 is delightfully leaning towards N14,000,000,000 monthly at the end of the 1st Quarter of 2020. We can share that we have the full backing of Global Accelerex, an industry-leading Payment Terminal Service, Provider and the partnership of top commercial banks who remain pleasantly intrigued by our impressive journey and wants in on the action. We can share that we have an understanding with a microfinance bank who has become interested in our agent network and would want to extend loans to our agents through us.
Summarily, what this means is that we are poised to play fully as a disruptive fintech organization, combining digital credit with agent banking and layering them on top of the POS technology. When we review the business one year from now, I would like Accelerex to be acknowledged as an innovative organization that held its own, created and delivered value profitably while facing stiff competition from behemoths. We can do this because irrespective of our growing size, we still see ourselves as a small, hungry and agile business capable of reacting more rapidly than the rest.
Writing now as someone within, leading growth in the business, I can say this to the rest of the industry stakeholders, Accelerex Network is here to stay.
About the author
Tochukwu Okwuanya is a Project Management and FinTech Professional, trained at both Said Business School, University of Oxford and Frankfurt School of Finance and Management. [The piece was first published on Medium.com]