The International Monetary Fund, IMF, yesterday, said that Nigerian banks closed 234 branches and 649 Automated Teller Machines, ATMs, in 2020 leading to a decline in the country’s Financial Access Score (FAS) to 4.44 in the year against 4.78 in 2019.
The IMF disclosed this in its Financial Access Survey 2021 Trends and Developments released yesterday.
According to the report, the international community uses two FAS indicators to monitor the Target 8.10 of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which aims at strengthening the capacity of domestic financial institutions to expand access to banking and financial services.
The two FAS indicators are Number of Commercial Bank Branches per 100,000 Adults and Number of ATMs per 100,000 Adults.
According to the report, Nigeria recorded declines in these two critical FAS indicators and 12 other indicators among the 64 indicators measured by the FAS.
This according to the report, was due to the decline in the number of commercial bank branches in Nigeria to 5,158 in 2020 from 5,392 in 2019.
Consequently, the Number of Commercial Bank Branches per 1,000 km2 in Nigeria fell to 5.94 in 2020 from 5.68 in 2019.
Similarly, in terms of Number of ATMs per 100,000 Adults, the country’s Financial Access score fell to 17.19 in 2020 from 16.14 in 2020.
The reduction according to the IMF was to fall in the number of ATMs in Nigeria by 649 to 18,810 in 2020 from 19,459 in 2019.
Also, the Number of ATMs per 1,000 km2 in Nigeria fell to 20.65 in 2020 from 21.36 in 2019.
The IMF report also showed a sharp decline in the number of registered mobile money agent outlets in Nigeria to 129,154 in 2020 from 145,800 in 2019, representing 11 per cent decline.