South African telecoms provider, MTN has announced that a subsidiary, MTN Nigeria Communications PLC has been granted permission to offer financial services by Nigeria’s central bank.
The announcement comes after the Nigerian government decided last year that it would enable telecom companies to offer banking services — this is intended to give millions of Nigerians without bank accounts access to mobile money services.
MTN Group, which has a majority stake in MTN Nigeria, had said it would apply for a mobile banking license in Nigeria and hoped to launch the service in 2019.
In May, MTN Nigeria listed in Lagos with a $6.54 billion at the time debut that turned it into the Nigerian Stock Exchange’s second-largest stock by market value.
MTN Nigeria CEO, Ferdi Moolman confirmed on Monday that the company’s Yello Digital Financial Services Limited (YDFS) unit had been granted a ‘full super-agent’ license by the Central Bank of Nigeria.
Moolman says, “through the network established by YDFS, MTN is in a position to broaden the availability of financial services for the underserved 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 License, 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.”
MTN is Nigeria’s biggest mobile phone network, serving around 56 million people.