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BRUSSELS, 24 June 2020 – Since the Covid-19 crisis outbreak, WSBI member postal savings and retail banks in Africa are more present than ever on the payments front.
Driven by a mission to serve lower income segments, member banks also undertake efforts to serve remote areas where commercial banks rarely tread. In their role as postal savings and retail banks, they have been approached by governments to transfer aid funds to vulnerable people like widows, widowers and elderly people in rural areas. Some examples of banks helping with funds transfer include Tunisian Post, Al Barid Bank in Morocco, South African Postbank in South Africa and Centenary Bank, a retail banking institution in Uganda.
Al-Barid Bank, Barid Cash, Morocco
Al-Barid Bank in Morocco on 6 April started to distribute financial assistance beneficiaries funds received from competent authorities.
Payment of financial aid to beneficiaries are being made through Al-Barid Bank ATMs or at the branches of its Barid Cash subsidiary upon presentation of the customer identification number, or CIN. Payments made "without card" via ATMs use a cardless service that inform beneficiaries by SMS a message containing a so-called “didactic capsule" – an educational way to clearly explain the cardless withdrawal methods. Payments are accompanied everywhere by adequate sanitary measures and reorganisation of services to respect all the sanitary measures and preserve the heath conditions of the elderly in particular.
A subsidiary of Barid Al-Maghrib, Al-Barid Bank provides in-person service via more than 1,800 branches spread over the Kingdom. A member of WSBI since 2010, Al Barid Bank offers a wide range of banking products and services at an adapted rate and through several channels – branch, mobile and online, for example – and thus contributes to the promotion of savings and the acceleration of banking and inclusion.
Centenary Bank, Uganda
A leading commercial microfinance bank in Uganda, Centenary Bank recently won a competitive bidding process from the Ugandan Ministry of Gender, Labour & Social Development to become the new payment service provider (PSP) for Senior Citizens Grants under the Social Assistance Grants for Empowerment (SAGE).
The PSP provides channels to deliver the last mile of cash grants to older persons. Coming on the cusp of the national roll out of the Senior Citizens Grant to cover all districts around the country, Kampala-based Centenary Bank will take over the PSP role from PostBank Uganda, whose contract expires in March 2021. Grants were paid using Postbank MTN Mobile Money.
Stephen Kasaija, head of the ministry's Social Protection Programme Management Unit, said, “Centenary Bank comes on board at a time the programme is implementing a national roll out and at a time the country is fighting the Covid-19 Pandemic. Their countrywide presence through bank agents and their robust payment channels will go a long way to support us achieve our goal to pay older persons timely, reliably and safely."
A WSBI member, Centenary Bank serves more than 1.8 million consumers, a quarter of the country's total banking population. With a growing network of 186 ATMs, 74 branches, and over 400 Cente Agents across the country, Centenary Bank started in 1985 with two main purposes: serve the rural poor and make a meaningful contribution to the socio-economic development of Uganda.