By our reporter

Mobile van banking solution started in 2007 with DFID funding Post Bank to acquire  two mobile vans operating in eastern Uganda and servicing over 10 districts. This was as a result of a research that was conducted by DFID to establish ways of financially including the communities in hard to reach areas.

With the two vans, the journey to financial inclusion began and more people were being served. Currently the fleet of nine mobile vans cover a wide area across Uganda and this has improved access to financial services to rural areas.

The deliberate and wide coverage as a result of investment in mobile van services has attracted more bulk payments making PostBank a bank of choice for bulk and field payments.

The bank rolled out a philosophy called “Bank on the Wheels” which has taken the banking hall to the ordinary people.

With its Bank on the Wheels, PBU has been able to serve 158,000 elderly people under the SAGE program under the Ministry of Gender, 341,590 people under the World Food Program, 15,246 farmers in Bunyoro and Northern Uganda under the Alliance One Tobacco Uganda, and 14,775 refugees in northern and West Nile under the care of  Danish Refugee Council.

The others are 463 refugees in West Nile and Karamoja under World Vision, 1,000 households under the Samaritan Purse in Karamoja as well as Give Directly’s 850 households in Kyegegwa.

The payment infrastructure used for some of the payments especially SAGE  in hard-to-reach areas is the mobile banking vehicles powered with Biometric technology that allows customers in the rural areas to transact with no hassle and minimized complaints as a result of lack of tools to transact or forgetting of their Personal Identification Numbers (PIN).

“This is a hassle free banking service targeting the elderly and rural customers,” says PBU’s Senior Manager Marketing & Communications  Mrs Jackie T. Kwesiga.

Mrs Kwesiga adds that currently PBU iis working for the following organisations;
c. Alliance One Tobacco Uganda
d. Danish Refugee Council (DRC)
e. Give Directly
f. World Vision
g. Rural Electrification Agency.

“We also serve the UPDF and Police, whose deployments sometimes require them to operate from deep in rural areas like Karamojja, Napak, Kotido, etc.”
The Bank’s spokesperson adds, explaining that the bank always provide services in all circumstances.

“Specifically for the WSACCO, PostBank offers switching services where the WSACCO members are able to access their funds using PostBank ATM network.W SACCO members can also access their funds on all interswitch partner bank ATMs through PostBank switch and therefore do not have to look for only PostBank ATM to transact,” Mrs Kwesiga notes.

Riding on the success of the services, PostBank was awarded a renewable three years contract for SAGE (The Social Assistance Grant for the Elderly). Through the bank, the government has been paying the Elderly since 2016.

The success of this program is due to PBU’s comparative advantage for its ability to reach the remotest and hard to reach areas of Uganda.

As at December 2017, PostBank had enlisted a total of 158,481 beneficiaries in different regions of Uganda, with a total disbursement of  over UGX. 50,649890732.
Since 2012, PBU, in partnership with World Food Program (WFP)  and the Office of the Prime Minister, provided services of paying vulnerable people in an arrangement dubbed CASH FOR FOOD.

“The target populations are found in the most remote refugee camps in rural Uganda, where only our 4 WD mobile banking vans are able to reach,” Mrs Kwesiga says, adding,

“By December 2017, we had disbursed to a total number of over 300,000 refugee households.”