As financial solution providers continue to face stiffer competition
globally from Fintech startups and emerging technologies such as
blockchain, cryptocurrency and crowdfunding, and the increasing level of
disruption in the traditional mode of payment and business models,
technology holds the key to unlock the potentials in the financial
service sector across Africa through Fintech.
As the banking sector continues to find newer ways of engaging and
providing customer-centric services to bridge the current level of
unbanked and underbanked population to achieve Nigeria’s 2020
financial inclusion target, the fallout of the recently held FirstBank
Fintech Summit 3.0. is that technology is the growth of the financial
institutions in Africa.
“Customer experience and innovation are key in our approach to
satisfying our customers. As a leading banking services solutions
provider, FirstBank has continued to set the pace in the financial
services industry, coming up with new initiatives to provide financial
products and services with greater speed, accountability and
efficiency,” said Adesola Adeduntan, the CEO, First Bank of Nigeria
Limited at the recent FirstBank Fintech Summit 3.0.
Adeduntan opined that the third edition of the FirstBank Fintech Summit
indicates the Bank’s commitment to putting its customers first.
According to him, FirstBank is keen at offering excellent financial
services by devising new ways of effectively and efficiently meeting
customers’ financial needs.
“Evidently, financial technology is causing positive disruption in the
financial services industry. The impact of technology in lifestyle
business and other areas of today’s customer is huge. We are therefore
following global trends in collaborating with Fintechs and other big
technology companies on several transformational initiatives to be able
to satisfy our customers’ needs,” said Adeduntan.
According to Adeduntan, the main purpose of the FirstBank Fintech summit
is to converge thought leaders in the FinTech space to champion
the discourse around financial technology and proffer solutions that will
shape the future of banking.
He stated further that key areas of interest for the bank is to
champion the propositions around e-business and digital offering, agent
banking, wholesale or transaction banking product suite, retail and
consumer lending and SME productivity.
“I am optimistic that every organisation represented here will be
empowered to provide services with greater speed and solve real societal
problems to the advantage of the Nigerian populace through the insights
that will be gained from this event.
“At FirstBank, our promise is to always deliver the ultimate ‘gold
standard’ of value and excellence. We will, therefore, stop at nothing
to provide excellent and innovative financial services to our esteemed
customers,” he concludes.
Victor Asemota, keynote speaker at the summit said the essence of
Fintech is the ability to deploy technology towards solving human
problems with tools and processes. According to him, innovation simply
means the ability to effectively combine and deploy tools, process and
people together to achieve an aim.
Asemota opined that Fintech will help to end the deficit narrative
associated with human-centred innovation. Hence, people plus innovation
will result in solving real-life problems, real-time.
Chuma Ezirim, the Group Executive, eBusiness and Retail Products, said
Fintech is an enabler in solving real problems in the financial sector.
However, building a strong digital franchise in the financial ecosystem
will be driven by successful partnerships.
In rolling out the figures, Ezirim said, “Over 18m customer accounts,
over 10m cards issued (processes about 25% of card transactions in
Nigeria). The highest number of Verve transacting cards; Visa debit
multi-currency card. Over 8 million users (80% of customer base) with an
average of 2.1 million transactions worth over N7 billion is processed
“Over 3.3 million customers; over 500,000 transactions worth
N23billion are processed daily. Over 36,000 active agents in Nigeria
with a dominant presence in 754 local governments in the 36 states. Over
600,000 transactions worth over N9billion are processed daily,” said
According to him, in developing a digital innovation lab, the banking
sector must create new digital experiences for customers by enhancing
existing channels and products. Therefore, banks and financial
sector should leverage Fintech and non-Fintech ecosystem in Nigeria by
promoting open innovation, collaboration and co-innovation in the
Nigerian financial services sector.
According to Ezirim, in offering banking as a service to its customers
is leveraging its API infrastructure. FirstBank is today offering
payments through accounts, wallets and cards. However, he is of the view
that there are growth areas and opportunities in Fintech.
According to him, Fintech allows banks to offer real-time processing of
transaction (instant payments and settlements). Mobile
payments/acceptance channels through mobile Apps, USSD, QR Code, E-/M
commerce, and others that are out-growing cards usage.
Similarly, Fintech has contributed to the digitalization of person to
person, person to business, business to person and business to business
payment transactions. And, it allows for new approaches to assessing
risk in underserved segments, especially with consumer and SME Loans.
Callistus Obetta, the Group Executive, Technology & Services, FirstBank,
said financial technology has made positive disruption in banking and
other financial services; and financial institutions will do well to
take advantage of Fintech.
According to him, FirstBank is taking giant strides in the digital
space. “In a short time, we have become the foremost financial
inclusion solution provider with over 36,000 agents in all states of the
federation. We have done over N2 trillion in transaction value from
inception to date.
“The FirstBank Agent Banking Network is currently doing over N8
Billion daily. This is helping us reduce poverty in the country. Our
Firstmobile application has become the foremost mobile banking
application in the country with over 3 million users doing over 14
a million transactions monthly,” said Obetta stating that FirstBank has
been able to achieve this feat due to its ability to embrace technology.
However, Obetta urged participants at the Fintech summit to leverage on
the insights shared by speakers. “We will continue to adopt the best
technology and collaborate with the best partners to deliver value to
our customers,” Obetta stated.