India’s Bharti Airtel Nigeria, the local unit of the company in Africa’s largest economy has now applied for a banking license.
The license is called a payment service bank (PSB).
The decision is following MTN Nigeria’s application for the same type of banking license that would see the two largest mobile carriers enter into the Nigerian financial services sector through mobile money service.
While Airtel is Nigeria’s second largest mobile carrier with about 41 million and MTN having about 64 million subscribers. There entrance into the financial services industry will see them competing with tier one and two lenders who cummulatively only have about 40 million bank accounts.
Airtel said in a media statement through its Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of Airtel Nigeria, Mr. Segun Ogunsanya, said, “We welcome the development and we express profound appreciation to the CBN for its commitment to driving financial inclusion through technology.
“In line with the guidelines shared by the CBN, we have commenced the process of applying for a licence as we believe that we are at a vantage position to empower and connect more Nigerians as well as deliver mobile banking services to the doorsteps of the financially excluded. Folks will no longer need to keep their money inside cooking pots or under their beds because we will securely connect them to the financial system.”