Rural banking 'needs revamp'

Banking executives throughout Africa agree there is a lack of adequate branch infrastructure in their respective countries and that distribution networks in rural areas must be expanded in order to service the unbanked market and penetrate potential customers outside of the major urban centres.

Banking executives throughout Africa agree there is a lack of adequate branch infrastructure in their respective countries and that distribution networks in rural areas must be expanded in order to service the unbanked market and penetrate potential customers outside of the major urban centres.

This is one of the findings of auditing firm Pricewaterhouse-Cooper's first survey on banking in Africa based on personal interviews with banking chief executive officers, presidents and senior executives of 52 banks.

Reaching the unbanked population is a challenge for all regions that participated in the survey and according to the study, banking penetration was low outside of urban areas.

Taking the lead in Africa in the mass-market penetration is South Africa, with successful products such as the low cost Mzansi account now reaching more than two million customers.

Tom Winterboer, head of PwC banking and capital markets Southern Africa, said the survey provided initial perspectives on how banking on the continent could evolve over the next few years. - I-Net Bridge

X