Financial inclusion still a boon in African banking industry

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Equity Bank

GeoPoll’s recent survey reveals that banking preferences in Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa as well as retail banking in Africa are yet to attain their full potential.

According to their mobile research firm Equity Bank, GT Bank, and Capitec are the preferred retail banks among citizens of Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa, respectively, even as 80 percent of the adult population in Africa do not use formal or semi-formal financial services. The results of a new straw poll survey conducted by leading mobile research firm GeoPoll on the state of retail banking in three of Africa’s biggest economies.

While financial penetration remains low in Africa overall, 95 percent of survey respondents in Nigeria, 94 percent in South Africa, and 90 percent in Kenya indicated that they maintain at least one active bank account, according to the results of the survey.

Among those with active bank accounts in the three African countries, customer service was named the most important factor when deciding which bank to use by a majority of the survey respondents.

The study, which can be accessed in full at (blog.geopoll.com), used GeoPoll’s proprietary mobile data collection technology, the GeoPoll mobile app to reach users in Nigeria, Kenya, and South Africa. The respondents were served more than a dozen questions about their personal retail banking habits and preferences.

Key findings from the study include:

  • Equity Bank is the most popular retail bank in Kenya, with 40 percent of survey respondents indicating they held a primary account there; in Nigeria, 31 percent of respondents said they used GT Bank for their primary account, making it the most popular in that country; in South Africa, the most popular retail bank is Capitec, with 39 percent of respondents indicating it as their primary bank.
  • Just 14 percent of bank customers in Nigeria hold three or more bank accounts. In South Africa and Kenya, just 6 percent and 5 percent of customers held three or more bank accounts, respectively.
  • Transaction fees, a lack of adequate loan facilities and complicated loan processes were among the likeliest reasons citizens of Nigeria, Kenya, and South Africa are unhappy with their banks.

GeoPoll’s survey was conducted among 2,825 unique respondents aged 18 and above, including 1,565 in Kenya, 1,002 in Nigeria, and 258 in South Africa.

By asking people questions on their mobile phones without the need for data plans or internet access, GeoPoll is able to help customers understand trends, preferences, and conditions in countries where data has traditionally been difficult and expensive to obtain.

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Humphrey aka HO believes that everyone has a story to tell, and each shared story has some relavance in life and the ecosystems we manage. He listens and likes learning new things since he believes that there can never be an end to learning. You can reach HO, the managing editor of CIO East Africa magazine at humphrey.odhiambo@cio.co.ke

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