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Over 70 per cent of Kenyans now have access to financial services, says new survey
By TF News Reporter
The number of Kenyans with no access to financial services have declined from 31.4 to 25.4 per cent in the last four years, says a new FinAccess survey released Thursday.
The survey says in 2013, 32.7 per cent of the adult population accessed financial services from the formal, prudentially regulated financial institutions though mobile money services offered by all the four mobile telephone operators emerged the most preferred service.
“The proportion of the adult population using different forms of formal financial services stands at 66.7 per cent in 2013 compared to 41.3 per cent in 2009,” said Prof Njuguna Ndung’u, CBK governor during the launch of the survey in Nairobi.
“Similarly, the proportion of the adult population totally excluded from financial services has declined to 25.4 per cent in 2013 from 31.4 per cent in 2009. This is a vindication of policy strategies and reforms by government as well as financial sector players’ initiatives and innovations.”
He says the FinAccess 2013 survey results reveal that the financial inclusion landscape has undergone considerable change with the overall conclusion that it has expanded.
Use of mobile money across regions has grown hugely between 2009 and 2013. The highest use is in Nairobi at 84 per cent with Central at 75 per cent. In all other regions usage of mobile money exceeds 50 per cent.
36 per cent of males have a bank account, compared with 23 per cent of females.
Use of banks, MFSP and SACCOs is highest amongst the employed. Use of informal groups and MFIs is highest amongst those who own a business or derive livelihood from agriculture
The survey says amongst the adult population, the use of combinations of formal prudential, non-formal prudential and informal products has increased from 16 per cent in 2006 to 25 per cent in 2009 to 29 per cent in 2013.
“The consumption of the portfolio of financial services and products clearly shows that consumers require choices; hence the need to maintain the diversity and encourage competition and transparency of the different financial services providers amongst the different market segments and focus groups,” says Prof Ndung’u.
“It is critical to further enhance efficiency, drive down transactions costs and promote the development of financial services and products that will benefit financial inclusion efforts. This is particularly important given that a quarter of the adult population is still not using any form of formal, semi-formal or informal financial services and products.”
However, the survey says women's use of the formal prudential institutions like commercial banks still lags behind that of men while exclusive use of informal financial services such as ‘village money lenders’ has declined for both men and women.
It says the rural and urban populations have seen substantial shifts in use of financial institutions over the past seven years with Nairobi region having the highest proportion of adults (54.7 per cent) with formal prudential access, while Western region has the least (22.4%).
The Coast region has the highest proportion of excluded adults (36.2 per cent), while Nairobi has the lowest (9.1 per cent) while over 60 per cent of those without a primary education are financially excluded. The survey says financial exclusion decreases with improved level of education.
It says the use of banks, mobile money, SACCOs and Micro Finance Institutions is highest among the rich and lowest in the poorest section of the population while the use of informal groups such as ‘chamas’ stays almost the same among many people except amongst the poorest.
The survey says for the vast majority (76 per cent) of the rural population, the nearest financial service provider is a mobile money agent where it takes less time on average for an individual to get to a mobile money agent than to a bank or bank agent.
It says 57 per cent of adults in rural areas can walk to the nearest mobile money agent, and therefore incur no additional monetary cost while 22 per cent says they will need to pay more than Sh50 to get to a mobile money agent.
In contrast 68 per cent will pay more than Sh50 to get to a bank branch. With 55 per cent saying it takes more than 30 minutes to get to the nearest bank branch. The number falls to 42 per cent for bank agents and 22 per cent for mobile money agents.
The survey says 36 per cent of the rural population would have to spend over Sh100 to get to a bank branch. This however drops to 23.4 per cent for bank agents and nine per cent for mobile money agents.
In the urban centres 75 per cent of the urban population cites mobile money agents as the closest financial service provider while 17 per cent say a bank branch is the closest financial access point, compared with only eight per cent in rural areas.
“In urban areas, 72 per cent of adults can get to a mobile money agent within 10 minutes, and 46 per cent can get to a bank agent within the same time,” says the survey.
“85.8 per cent of adults in urban areas can walk to their nearest mobile money agent, 60.4 per cent to their nearest bank agent and 46.1 per cent to their nearest bank branch.”
It says only 3.1 per cent need pay more than Sh50 to get to the nearest mobile money agent compared to 12.4 per cent of those trying to get to their nearest bank branch, and 8.9 per cent to the nearest bank agent.
The survey says mobile money has had a dramatic impact on domestic remittances saying in 2006, over half (57 per cent) of money transfers within Kenya were through family and friends. This dropped to a third by 2013.
It says Use of buses and matatus for domestic remittances decreased from 27 per cent in 2006 to five per cent in 2013 while the use of the Post Office decreased from 24 per cent in 2006 to one per cent in2013.
However, over 60 per cent of adults who send or receive international remittances use money transfer services such as Western Union and Money Gram amongst others.
“An increasing number now use mobile phone money transfer service (up from 13 per cent in 2009 to 29 per cent in 2013) for international transfers,” says the survey.
“More than one in ten adults report that they conduct a mobile money transfer daily and another third of respondents conduct a money transfer weekly.”