17 July 2018

Nigeria: Scale Up Data Analytics to Improve Products Offering, Banks Urged

With over 98 per cent of data analytics yet to be explored globally, banks have been urged to scale up the use of analytics to make banking operations simpler and more efficient for customers.

Following the evolution in the banking industry, especially as it is immersed in the digital agenda, leveraging technology to improve on products and services, employees also have been encouraged to ideate and develop their entrepreneurial skills, as current efforts from banks to figure out how to deal with big data will soon get started, while technology toolkits will continue to improve.

The advice was given by the Chairman, Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN), Lagos State Branch, Kola Abdul, in his opening speech at the 2018 Lagos Bankers and Stakeholders Nite, with the theme: "Big Data, Fintech and the Future of Banking."

Abdul said in order to stay relevant while working alongside Financial Technology (FinTech) startups, there was the need to work hard to harness the digital revolution, and completely re-imagine their role and that of the customers' experience.

"Today, banks are building foundational platforms in areas such as Data Warehouses based on strategic reviews of what banks want to do using the Big Data. Once the establishment of organisational models is done, which is what many companies are currently going through, I don't see banks having to spend too much time on organisational models to deal with Big Data - it will becomes a customary ability to handle data because it will become routine."

The guest speaker, Founder & Executive Vice Chairman, Computer Warehouse Group (CWG), Austin Okere, said with about 47 per cent of the population unbanked, and 94 per cent mobile phone penetration, these provide a perfect setup for fintech to exploit its mobile-dominated financial services hub in Nigeria.

Okere, who noted that banks have paid lip service to inclusiveness with few included in formal financial services, also said digitisation of retail payment and financial services can become an important development economic priority to reach more people at lower cost of financial services.

The CWG boss, who also disclosed that investment in fintech globally has increased significantly to $2billion daily, warned that $4.7trillion of financial services revenue was at risk of displacement by traditional banks. However, he said regulators are helping fintechs to manage the problems.

"The biggest threat to banks has precisely been their seeming success, with cumulative high returns during economic downturn that adversely affected the real sector.

"Fintech has emerged as a powerful force of challenge of fintech companies with its great promises, as it is shaking off the banking system and helping to build more efficient ones, especially for consumers and small businesses."

The President and Chairman in Council, CIBN, Uche Messiah Olowu, noted that as fintech is revolutionising the retail space, there was the need to upscale members with opportunities.

He said despite disruptions from fintech, banks have survived and stayed stronger because they were able to stay abreast of information, delivering on time and harnessed the strength of Fintech companies through cooperation and strategy approach.

Olowu said: "The evolution of financial technology is ample opportunity for the future of banking, prerequisite knowledge, competencies and capacity development; the future of banking will continue to wear the strong look despite the advent of disrupting technology.

"As CIBN is geared to promote initiatives, contribute to growth and development of economy, we will also continue to promote ethics and professionalism."

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