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Image courtesy Equity BCDC. Training of sub-banking agents to use the phone solution and the USSD banking agent menu (2022).

During a recent interview with the Fund, Djedje Kungula shares his journey on working for Equity Bank BCDC on the Fund supported project.

Equity Bank BCDC, formerly ProCredit Bank, started operations in 2005. The bank came as a revolution to the banking industry in DRC as it enabled masses to open bank accounts for free without having account restrictions. In 2015, ProCredit Bank was bought by Equity Bank. This institution then merged with Banque Commercial du Congo to form Equity BCDC, now the second largest bank in the DRC.

Djedje Kungula Makoso, an agronomist by profession, shares his journey since 2016 working for Equity BCDC under the Mastercard Foundation Fund for Rural Prosperity funded project. The project aims to extend agency banking into DRC’s rural areas. Having contributed to the development of a social investment sector, Equity BCDC is supporting and improving social projects that are involved in social impact activities.

Djedje notes that most of the banking institutions in DRC are focused on urban centres, whereas the rural areas are not prioritised and lack proper infrastructure. 

“Equity BCDC saw an opportunity to bring the financially excluded closer by deploying an agency banking model. They began to offer financial services and products that were adapted to the situation and context of the different rural areas. Additionally, they also offered training and capacity building which have been key to the rural communities.” Djedje Kungula, Agricultural Finance Specialist, Equity BCDC.

Equity BCDC deploys an agency banking with master agent model that is an improvement on traditional agency banking where the master agent is a legal entity and builds a distribution network composed of sub-agents (traditional agent banking) that work and execute transactions benefiting the customer with a bigger working capital capacity of the master agent. In addition to liquidity, the sub-agents benefit from the support of the master agent to extend activities and network in marginal areas, to recycle cash over a wider area and thereby improve the availability of cash and the regularity of service. The model also has the advantage of easing the deployment of bank account opening staff and maximizing the income for the master agent and its sub-agents through a wider, more regular business and a stronger and more solid brand image of the master agent. For the bank, monitoring and support is easier and more efficient through the master agent's relay to sub-agents. At the same time, network extension is faster and service coverage is more extensive.

At the same time, network extension is faster and service coverage is more extensive.

Through this agency banking model, the bank aims to eventually deploy 20,000 agents within the country and onboard 2 million new customers annually, states Djedje. He goes on to share that they are also committed to continue capacity building and empower their customer base. Equity BCDC has also gained attention from partners as they are offering more than just banking solutions: partners have come onboard to support them on aspects such as technical assistance and capacity building. They also aim to invest in more technology. For rural areas, they have been able to deploy services that use technology infrastructure with and without internet access as there is a huge internet divide in DRC. For the areas with no internet and smart phones, their short code may be used to enable accessible services to customers. The same goes for their agency banking, as customers who lack internet and smart phones can still visit a nearby bank agent to open bank accounts and make deposits into their saving accounts using short codes.

Like many businesses, the Covid-19 pandemic affected Equity BCDC’s operations and ability to meet the targets for agent deployment. Djedje highlights that travel restrictions curtailed some of their operations. Their loan portfolio was also affected as many people stopped doing business and so did not require loans or could not pay back as initially planned. Other challenges experienced have been political instability and lack of proper infrastructure. Djedje indicates that it is important to have a holistic approach when offering financial products and services to customers to mitigate some of these challenges. He also urges other financial sector players to carry out implementation studies prior to offering services to mitigate unforeseen challenges.

Djedje is confident that Equity BCDC has huge potential to make a difference and to improve the lives of the population in DRC by spearheading projects that are bringing non-financial additionality and other services to their customers.


Image courtesy Equity BCDC: Branding of a bank sub-agent in the DRC (2022).


Image courtesy Equity BCDC: Use of Point of Sale (POS) for withdrawal or deposit transactions by a sub-agent (2022).

By Nashipae Leteipan, Communications Manager, Mastercard Foundation Fund for Rural Prosperity.

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