Post Bank Project: Is there a blockage?

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The idea of ​​launching a postal bank has been dragging on for a long time. The ordinary citizen does not understand why the project encounters so many obstacles. He does not understand, either, who is behind this blockage. Announced for 2021, the realization of this dream has been postponed indefinitely.

Remember that the creation of the postal bank is not just a simple project or an imagining. The Tunisians are waiting for it impatiently. Postal workers and professionals are already proud of it. Small businesses and customers of the Post do not hide their concern to see this project fall through like other projects.

Frankly speaking, the launch file for this new financial institution is well put together. Consequently, everything militates in the direction of its approval by the authority which has the power of decision. But that’s where it all lies.

Who has this power?

Apparently, we are told that it is the Central Bank. In reality, we have the impression that this is not the case. So, one can wonder if there is not a real banking lobby in front of this fierce opposition to the launch of the Postal Bank. The ordinary citizen leans very favorably towards this hypothesis.

There are too many impediments for it to be innocent. This is, at least, the feeling that everyone can have. Indeed, everything leads to believe that the advantages available to the Post office scare more than one. However, is this fear justified? Should we be afraid of a company that keeps accumulating performances one after the other? Can we be afraid of a public institution which, despite the innumerable difficulties that the country is experiencing, manages to emerge from the lot and impose itself on the financial market?

On the contrary, such an enterprise should be encouraged and supported. Or, at the very least, spare him the cheap shots and schemes consisting in putting a spoke in his wheels. Because, really, it is what we see or what we deduce in view of the many obstacles that arise here and there.

Since 2019, the Tunisian Post has officially announced its ambition to transform itself into a bank. To this end, it filed the request to this effect with the Central Bank on 31.12.2019. To date, no permission has been granted. It is a habit of our administration which always leaves files dormant for years without giving the slightest signal. We are satisfied with reassuring declarations which are not followed by any effect. And that could go on for years to come. Until the idea of ​​the project fades and falls into oblivion.

The Tunisian is entitled to wonder if it is the assets available to the Post Office that arouse so many fears among other operators. And here we are thinking, of course, of the banking sector. Is the latter right to fear the birth of a public body with the same prerogatives or almost to the point that it pushes him to reject it?

The strategy of the “future” bank

A priori, the activities of the Post Office can only be integrated into a real dynamic whose main objective would be to promote economic and social development.

Through the network strongly established in the country, La Poste is able to contribute effectively to the financial inclusion of most unbanked social categories. According to the latest annual report, the Tunisian Post “continues its program of development of new banking services in addition to current offers similar to loans intended for this category of population”.

As part of its strategy, Swiss Post has set several objectives to be achieved through the Postal Bank. First, it aims to improve the banking rate and accelerate financial inclusion. Second, it seeks to promote access to financial services through innovation and the capabilities available to the Post. On the other hand, it plans to offer complete financial services directly or through intermediation.

It is precisely in this context that it will have to develop partnership and synergy relationships, including a capital partnership in order to strengthen its financial solidity around strategic axes, a business partnership with the Post Office, with microfinance institutions , with payment institutions, with insurance companies, etc. Other partnerships with local or foreign players are envisaged within the framework of strategic programs in anticipation of the launch of the new financial institution.

All the indications go in the direction of the approval of this project, in particular when one reads the report of expertise drawn up by the office chosen by the Tunisian Post. According to this report, the development of new banking services in addition to current offers … will enable the Tunisian Post to improve the number of active current accounts and avoid the migration of customers from postal checks to banks that offer credit possibilities. .

good coverage territorial

Faced with this wide range of opportunities offered by the future financial institution, we do not see what could further delay its realization. Already the services offered by the Tunisian Post militate in the right direction. The achievements made are commensurate with the hopes that we should expect, especially since the figures recorded speak for themselves.

Today, the Tunisian Post is more than 6 million current accounts and savings accounts, nearly 2.5 million electronic card holders, more than 81 million ordinary mail, not to mention more than 1,043 post offices throughout the territory. This ensures coverage of 1 post office for more than 10,000 inhabitants.

This network is capable of ensuring the penetration of banking activities in areas which, until then, did not benefit from these services.

We rely a lot on the proximity factor. Different social categories have very easy access to the post office, unlike banks. They are familiar with this environment.

The other advantage consists in the proximity to socio-professional categories, small and very small businesses and various craftsmen or small trades. The future postal bank would open up new financing horizons for these companies which are currently not possible with traditional banking organisations.

It is this niche of credits that is lacking at the Post Office. In addition, loan applicants will not have to complete the multiple steps required by banks or to pile up numerous documents. According to the officials who spoke on the issue, the procedures for granting credits for SMEs-TRE will be more flexible and more adapted to the prevailing economic situation.

Regarding the revitalization of the commercial sector, we expect the integration of a greater number of players in electronic payment operations and the reduction of cash payment. Moreover, more than 3,000 merchants are registered in the application using QR Code technology with nearly 600 commercial sites linked to the e-dinar platform.

Through all these assets, we hope that one day we will see the birth of the first Postal Bank in Tunisia. Our Algerian and Moroccan friends have already taken the plunge. Should we continue to create obstacles to such an adventure under various pretexts while the world is making great strides towards modernization and innovation?

The Tunisian Post must, by force of circumstances, evolve and move to higher levels thanks to the role it is called upon to play in microfinance or the inclusion of low-income social classes in the financial dynamic thanks to the trust capital that she managed to forge through the many years. Indeed, the first postal services date back to the second half of the 19th century.e century !

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