Rokel Commercial Bank is bringing greater financial inclusion and convenience to participants in Sierra Leone’s economy by launching the mobile banking platform, Sim Korpor. Starting in Freetown, customers with an account at RCB can now enjoy the convenience of making secure offline transactions such as withdraws, deposits, remittances, check balances, transfers, pay utility bills or send/receive e-cheques anytime, anywhere within Sierra Leone. For instant access to the service, customers must have an android smartphone to download the app on the Google Play store or a basic phone where a microprocessor chip can be inserted onto the SIM card. The Head of the Sim Korpor Department, Kezia Salonkole, stated that the service is designed to bring banking to the doorstep of the customers by cutting out the long bank queues and travel time to carry out banking services.
Among the keynote speakers at the launch was the Governor of the Bank of Sierra Leone, Dr. Patrick Conteh, who stated that the unbanked population of the country currently stands at 70% and believes Sim Korpor can deepen the access of financial services for the unbanked across the country. The Deputy Minister of Finance, D. Patricia Leverly commended RCB for giving more people access to financial services. RCB’s Managing Director, Dr. Gilpin, also stated that the service gives opportunities to everyone from okada riders, traders, street hawkers, students, farmers and housewives, “who have for far too long been excluded from accessing financial services.” He also noted that the product came about through a strong partnership with the company responsible for the technical expertise, Mobinet Group.
The CEO of Mobinet Group, Andrew Otiko, gave a speech at the event on how the local community can benefit from Sim Korpor stating, “I believe in providing opportunities to be successful regardless of class, gender, income potential, location and literacy. Success can be argued to be a function of time which is what SIM Korpor gives you. Imagine the quality of health care for patients when doctors and nurses are not faced with traffic to get to banking halls and then queues at these banks for simple transactions.”
Customers without the required documents will also be able to open an account with certain limits which can later be turned into an account with regular benefits once the customer has all the required documentation. The bank is teaming up with agents, who can cash out and receive payments for merchants, who can then buy goods with their phone. This service will ease the burdens of making transactions, saving customers travel time and waiting in queues at the bank.