By Laju Iren
84.6 million Nigerians, accounting for 47 percent of the country’s population are unbanked. In a sharp contrast, mobile phone penetration is very high at 94.5 percent with 30 percent of Nigerians owning a smartphone.
It is no wonder therefore, that experts are looking to technology as the solution to Nigeria’s unbanked population.
CEO, Diamond bank Plc, Mr. Uzoma Dozie, has joined his voice to this cause. “It is no exaggeration to say that mobile banking has revolutionized the way financial transactions are made across the continent,” he told Glamtech recently, ” for millions of people, it has positively transformed their ability to conduct business and their everyday lives.”
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 brick 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.
“The Diamond Bank MD also spoke excitedly about the potential ecosystem digital infrastructure can help create. “Through an integrated digital platform,” he said, “consumers can access bundled services and products from multiple partners best suited to facilitating their lifestyle,” he added.
Dozie added that through Diamond Mobile, customers can manage their finances, search and book international and local flights, as well as purchase movie tickets. His words: “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. Those of us in the banking system must begin to look at business models that are technology based even when they are far removed from the traditional models we have known in the past.