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MTN secures CBN’s License for financial services

Telecommunications operator, MTN, has secured full Super Agent Licence from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to offer financial services in the country. MTN said the licence received through its subsidiary, Yello Digital Financial Services Limited (YDFS) would enable it launch a large scale fintech strategy in the country. “The licence will enable MTN to convert their existing airtime agents and recruit other small businesses to distribute financial services,” the company said in a statement released yesterday.

“YDFS received approval in principle for its Super-Agent Licence in December 2018 and has been conducting a pilot project since then to meet the conditions of a full licence. The successful pilot has now led to the granting of a full licence under which YDFS will distribute financial services to all Nigerians,” MTN added.

Commenting on the licence, MTN CEO Ferdi Moolman said: “We are very pleased that YDFS has been granted a Super-Agent Licence, which enables us to extend access to financial services to a much broader group of Nigerians. This forms part of our commitment to contribute towards the achievement of Nigeria’s financial inclusion goals. Through the network established by YDFS MTN is in a position to broaden the availability of financial services for the under-served across the country. This marks a very important first step in leveraging our infrastructure to scale our Fintech initiatives. We have also applied for a Payment Service Bank (PSB) Licence, which will enable us in time to offer a broader and deeper range of financial services to those communities and we remain hopeful we will receive approval shortly.”

Earlier, Aitel Nigeria had also announced plans to apply for PSB license to deliver mobile banking services to its teeming customers. According to Airtel’s CEO, Mr Segun Ogunsanya, the company would apply for the PSB license through a subsidiary which is in line with guidelines issued by the CBN. He said Airtel, through its subsidiary, has a vision of operating the largest and most secured PSB in Nigeria, in order to promote financial inclusion as well as enhance access to financial services to the rural poor, low income earners and financially excluded of the society.

Recall that early 2018, CBN and the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) signed a memorandum of understanding which is expected to consider telcos to play directly in the nation’s payment system. In October same year, the apex bank released the guidelines for licensing and regulation of PSBs in the country, which enables telcos own the licence through a subsidiary.

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