“Mobile money key to banks’ success”

A Moody’s report has stated that the fast growth of mobile money banking within the sub-Saharan Africa region presents an exciting opportunity for banks to push for a greater financial inclusion agenda.

The Moody’s Investors Service report published yesterday said: “The fast growth of mobile phone banking across Africa has driven an increase in access to financial services, and has the potential, with time, to boost economic growth and create opportunities for banks to expand across the continent”.

The report, entitled ‘Mobile Phone Banking Supportive of Economic Growth and Banking Sector Prospects’, said through mobile phone technology more people are being roped into the formal financial sector.

Commenting on the report, Rita Babihuga — a Moody’s Associate Vice President-Analyst — said the increase in usage of mobile money usage has the potential to support credit quality in the region: whether the result of a more financially resilient population who are able to maintain a steady contribution to domestic demand and economic growth, or a healthier, more profitable banking system.

The Moody’s report comes after a World Bank study on financial inclusion found out that the number of Ghanaian adults with active mobile money accounts has doubled in the past year, and now stands at 17 percent of the adult population.

The study conducted by the World Bank’s Consultative Group to Assist the Poor (CGAP) lauded Ghana’s progress on mobile money, especially as the service was introduced barely half a decade ago.

Sub-Saharan Africa is experiencing the world’s fastest rise in new bank accounts, fuelled by the growth in mobile banking. Some 12 percent of adults in the region had a mobile money account at the end of 2014, compared to just 2 percent globally, according to World Bank figures.

In Ghana the patronage of mobile money continues to gain momentum, as for the third year running the value of transactions has seen an astronomical jump — from GH¢2.4billion as at 2013 to about GH¢11.6billion in 2014, according to industry data.

The value of mobile money transactions when put into perspective is more than a third of the total deposit liabilities of the 28 banks as at the end of 2014, and shows the vital role telecom companies are playing to advance the central bank’s cashlite economy agenda — and also ensure that the push for more financial inclusion is brought into the hands of millions of Ghanaians.

According to data from the Bank of Ghana, there are more than 6 million active mobile money subscribers in the four mobile companies that offer the service.

Ms. Babihuga, Moody’s Analyst and co-author of the report said: “Over time, increased access to formal financial services, including mobile bank accounts, has the potential to boost economic growth and diversification — by increasing productivity and facilitating investment in small and medium-sized enterprises — and reduce poverty, according to several academic studies. Together with a more profitable banking system, these are all-important factors that support a sovereign’s creditworthiness.

“For banks, a stronger macroeconomic environment offers greater opportunities for growth. Banks are also able to boost their revenues by offering users access to a wider array of banking products on the mobile platform,” she added.

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