Predictable characteristics of the unbanked and under-banked Nigerians

Nigeria’s unbanked and population remains quite high. A report, in March 2016, by Ericsson titled “Financial services for everyone” showed that a whopping 47 percent of Nigeria’s population is not in the banking system at all. This followed a national sample of 6,215 respondents aged 17-59 years old, representing 150 million people across five countries: Angola, Nigeria, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Ghana and Uganda. Surprisingly, at 53 percent banking rate, Nigeria has the highest proportion of banked people among the sampled countries.

On the 9th of June 2016, a breakdown of the unbanked and under-banked Nigerians was provided at the Lagos Business School. In a Business Leader Dialogue (BLD) for participants in the digital financial services (DFS) industry, it was revealed that the North-West has the highest percentage of unbanked Nigerians. 53-58 percent is female; 57-75 percent are below 35 years old; 40-65 percent are married and are mostly unemployed while about 50 percent have completed primary and secondary education.

With regards to the under-banked, the South-West and North-Central parts of Nigeria have the highest percentage. A whopping 60 percent are female; 53 – 60 percent are less than 35 years old; 60-72 percent are married and mostly employed; and 70 percent have completed primary and secondary education only. Both the under-banked and unbanked, expectedly, are concentrated in rural areas with household income of $2.50 per day and 60 percent have household size larger than 4. The main hindrance to having banking accounts for this group is largely that of access – both in terms of location and opening hours, even though poverty is another factor as many believe they do not have enough money to open bank accounts or do not want to incur expenses associated with banking services.

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