Case Study: Centenary Bank's transformation of agency banking in Uganda with FieldPro App

Marianne

Journalist for FieldPro

Industry: Financial Services

Region: East Africa

Product: FieldPro Agent Network


Introducing Centenary Bank

Centenary Bank, one of Uganda's leading commercial banks, has been a fundamental pillar of the Ugandan banking sector for more than three decades. The bank was established in 1983 as an initiative of the Uganda National Lay Apostolate, initially serving as a credit trust and primarily supporting rural farmers with financial assistance. In 1993, it was formally registered as a commercial bank, solidifying its position in the financial sector.

Centenary Bank has grown to become a powerhouse in Uganda's financial landscape with a network of over 70 branches across the country, serving over 1.8 million customers. Its offerings span a broad range of services, from personal and business banking to insurance and loans, and it has made a significant impact on Uganda's financial inclusion efforts, particularly in rural areas.


What is agency banking in Africa and the benefits

Africa, being one of the most vibrant and fastest-growing continents, presents unique challenges in the banking sector, particularly due to its geography and infrastructural limitations. To tackle these obstacles, the concept of agency banking has been introduced and widely adopted. Agency banking is a model where banks rely on a network of agents, such as local businesses or shops, who act as access points for their customers. This model makes it possible for consumers to make banking operations - such as deposits, withdrawals, or transfers - not in traditional branches, but at these widespread agent locations, emerging as a key solution to enhance financial inclusion. 

It brings the following benefits:

  1. Enhanced Accessibility: Agency banking primarily brings banking services directly to unbanked and underserved populations in rural communities. This system literally takes the bank to the people, prioritizing customer convenience and serving as a conduit for economic empowerment for those traditionally outside the banking system.

  2. Cost Efficiency: Agency banking provides a more affordable alternative to setting up traditional physical banks. This approach allows financial institutions to minimize expenditures, maximize savings, and concentrate resources on building robust systems that can be smoothly integrated with agency banking software and platforms, such as Last-mile Banking toolkit.

  3. Boosted Customer Base: The accessible nature of agency banking allows agents to attract more customers for financial institutions or telecom companies. As agents are often located within the communities they serve, they are strategically positioned to reach consumers more effectively and increase customer acquisition rates.

  4. Expanded Product Usage: The easy accessibility of agency banking increases the likelihood of people trying out various banking services. This exposure fosters a deeper understanding and adoption of a variety of digital products and services offered by different providers. Additionally, as agents receive training on platform usage and service provision, their financial and digital literacy improves, further enhancing their ability to promote these products and services.

Read more about Agency Banking Management in this comprehensive World Bank Survey


Centenary Bank's challenges

Centenary Bank, one of Uganda's leading commercial banks, adopted the agency banking model through Cente Agents to expand its reach and provide services to a wider demographic. However, managing a large network of agents across various locations presented significant challenges. Read more about services offered by Cente Agents here.

Key issues included effectively recruiting suitable agents, ensuring quality visits, monitoring performance, and managing the cash or 'float' held by each agent. With its existing system, the bank struggled with inefficiencies, inaccuracies, and a lack of transparency, hampering its growth and customer satisfaction.


The solution: FieldPro Agent Network App

To overcome these challenges, Centenary Bank turned to FieldPro, a comprehensive, cloud-based platform designed to streamline and optimize agency banking operations. 

FieldPro's features addressed Centenary Bank's key pain points:

  1. Agent Recruitment: FieldPro's digital recruitment process enables Centenary Bank to identify and onboard suitable agents in a quick, efficient manner. The platform’s tools for due diligence and vetting procedures ensure that only agents who meet the bank's criteria are recruited. Read more about our mobile CRM feature.

  2. Quality Visit: FieldPro’s built-in geolocation features helped ensure that bank officers were conducting quality visits to agent locations. The app's scheduling and route planning tools also improved visit efficiency, reducing travel time and increasing the number of visits per day. This was achieved thanks to our no code workflow builder.

  3. Performance Monitoring: The FieldPro dashboard allows bank management to monitor agent performance in real-time. Metrics such as transaction volumes and values, customer feedback, and regulatory compliance are tracked and visualized, allowing for quick identification of top-performing agents and those needing support.

  4. Float Management: Float management became easier with FieldPro’s real-time tracking and predictive analysis. The bank could monitor agent float levels to prevent cash shortages and surplices. Predictive analytics helped foresee when an agent would run out of cash, allowing the bank to proactively handle the situation.

Read more about our FieldPro Agent Network solution here

The results: enhanced efficiency and improved customer satisfaction

After implementing FieldPro, Centenary Bank witnessed a remarkable transformation in their agency banking operations.

  • The time required for agent recruitment reduced by 60%, and the quality of agents improved due to rigorous digital vetting.

  • The number of daily quality visits increased by 30%, and field officers reported significant improvements in their work efficiency.

  • Real-time performance monitoring led to a 25% increase in overall agent productivity, while compliance issues reduced by 80%.

  • The incidence of float shortages decreased by 70%, leading to smoother operations and improved customer satisfaction.

In conclusion, the FieldPro app provided Centenary Bank with the much-needed solution to manage their agency banking network effectively. Through its innovative features and real-time capabilities, FieldPro revolutionized the way Centenary Bank runs its operations, contributing to their goal of financial inclusion in Uganda.

"Managing an extensive agent network spread across Uganda comes with its fair share of challenges. The hurdles of agent recruitment, effective quality visits, performance monitoring, and float management were substantial. We recognized the need for an innovative solution and that's where FieldPro came into the picture.

Since integrating FieldPro into our operations, we have experienced a radical transformation in how we manage our agent network. The app has provided us with solutions tailored specifically to our needs.

The agent recruitment process, once a daunting task, is now efficient and streamlined. With FieldPro, we've been able to recruit agents who not only meet our stringent criteria, but also embody our bank's values. The digital vetting feature ensures that we select only the best agents for our network.

In terms of quality visits, FieldPro's geolocation feature is a game-changer. We can now track our field officers in real-time, making sure that quality visits are being conducted and improving their efficiency.

FieldPro's performance monitoring feature has allowed us to track metrics like transaction volumes, customer feedback, and regulatory compliance effortlessly. This real-time visibility into our agents' performance has been instrumental in identifying areas of improvement, and recognizing and rewarding top-performing agents.

In essence, FieldPro has revolutionized the way we manage our agency banking network. It's not just an app; it's a strategic partner that has empowered us to deliver better banking services to the people of Uganda. It has helped us bring about meaningful change in our operations and contribute to the larger mission of financial inclusion. For any financial institution looking to streamline its agency banking operations, I wholeheartedly recommend FieldPro."

Ronald Kibirige, Agency Banking Operations Manager

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