By Nkiruka Nnorom
The Managing Director/CEO, Diamond bank Plc, Mr. Uzoma Dozie, has said that technology remains the best way to empower and bring the unbanked Nigerians into the banking system.
He explained that one of the greatest examples of the empowering nature of technology has been the meteoric rise of mobile banking across Africa.
It is no exaggeration to say that mobile banking has revolutionized the way financial transactions are made across the continent and that for millions of people, it has positively transformed their ability to conduct business and their everyday lives, he said
He said: “Looking specifically at Nigeria and its ever-growing population of over 182 million people, we still have huge numbers of people who have limited or no access to convenient banking. If you think a bricks and mortar branch-led strategy is going to be the way to bring these people into the formal economy, then, in my view, you will fail.
Instead, it is only by creating digital infrastructure that the banking industry can scale rapidly enough to support the needs of those currently left out. Moreover, following changing lifestyles, Nigerians are some of the most digitally advanced consumers on the planet.”
“Therefore, when financial service firms think about the Nigerian market, they absolutely must provide a fully integrated, seamless digital offering. Failure to do so will only jar with the prevailing zeitgeist.
What is exciting is the potential ecosystem the digital infrastructure can help create. Through an integrated digital platform, consumers can access bundled services and products from multiple partners best suited to facilitating their lifestyle,” he added.
Giving an instance, he said: “through Diamond Mobile, our customers can manage their finances, search and book international and local flights, as well as purchase movie tickets, and this is only the start of what can become an even more integrated and far-reaching platform. It’s also the start of a concept that I call ‘Beyond Banking’.
China’s Wechat – an instant messaging service which allows online banking – is a powerful example of what the possibilities are when it comes to an integrated ecosystem. It is also a sign of the times that the CEO of a bank should be talking about the business model of a company that is seen as far removed from the traditional banking model, but I think this is the future and the start of a new category altogether, he further stated.
“Of course, a key element to making sure the most valuable and consumer-centric proposition is developed and brought to market, is through the use of data. By analysing the behaviour of consumers’ digital interactions and their financial transactions, banks can build a detailed picture.
This valuable insight can then help banks build the most appropriate infrastructure required to best support consumers’ needs. Clearly, as the digital revolution unfolds, there will be legitimate questions about data security and privacy that will need to be answered, but I don’t see these risks, as real as they are, as insurmountable,” he added.