Newly inaugurated bankers urged to take advantage of digital economy
Some newly inaugurated banking professionals have been urged to take advantage of the digital economy to shape the future of the banking industry.
Bayo Olugbemi, President of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN), spoke at the virtual 2020 CIBN Graduates Induction and Prize Awards Day with theme: “Digital Economy: The Role of Professional Bankers.” The Institute inducted 1,864 banking professionals at the weekend.
Olugbemi told participants that; “technology has caused significant disruption in the financial sector. The implication of this revolution for Professional Bankers is that our people will need new skills. A successful Banker will combine digital awareness with great people skills.”
“You will agree with me that COVID-19 has accelerated the space of digital evolution. As such, it has become imperative for us to rethink our approach to digital economy which has become the new normal. It is in the light of this, and in the recognition of important role banking and finance industry plays in the development and growth of the economy that we have decided to Xray at this event today.”
According to Olugbemi, a total of 1,864 candidates were admitted into different categories of membership; 899 candidates on the flagship ACIB programme, 41 candidates on Chartered Banker MBA programme, 22 candidates on MSc/ACIB programme and 902 candidates on Microfinance Certification Programme which spread across five countries; Nigeria, The Gambia, Ghana, Rwanda and Sierra-Leone
The induction, a ceremony organised by the Institute annually is where student members who have completed their examinations and also completed set conditions by the Governing Council, are formally admitted into full professional membership of the Institute.
Olayinka David-West, Professor of Information System , Academic Director of Lagos Business School and a guest speaker at the event said that the digital economy was birthed alongside the Information Age and represents the levels of economic activity from digital connections between people and businesses and extending to devices, data and processes.
“Our financial services ecosystem has recorded significant progress in areas like Bank Verification Number (BVN) and Instant Payments. The surge on bank branches after the first phase of the lockdown presented some interesting challenges to the ecosystem and the digital economy in general.”
“So, when we compare financial inclusion levels with mobile telecommunications penetration or even internet usage vis-a-vis their maturity, we can see that again 100 years versus 20 years, we still have a lot of gaps to close. “The informality of the economy and the dominance of cash still requires innovation capabilities that extends beyond digitalising cash to developing financial solutions that really meet the needs of the larger population that we want to deal with” she said.
David-West, then urged the inductees and bankers to reach out to 100 million adult Nigerians for introduction of the state of the financial infrastructure through digital means, adding that the infrastructure has developed beyond physical branches that offer over the-counter services to digital (self-service) channels or touch points like automated teller machines (ATMs), Point of Sale (PoS) terminals and individual mobile devices.
Importantly, the 2008 global financial crises was the catalyst that led to a call to action by younger and tech savvy bankers disillusioned with the antecedents of the legacy players alongside reducing public distrust of bankers, technology evolutions, and access to finance (A2F) solutions for MSMEs.
“These young bankers disrupted financial services. Becoming financial technology providers, also known as Fintech’s that are not just building innovating digital solutions, but also using innovative technologies and addressing customer needs” she said.
She also added, “gaining a banking certification in a future world where banks may no longer exist. I urge you to look around you, the dynamics have changed, and my question is where will you play? Are there 2 camps – bank vs. Fintech? Will we collaborate or compete? Will we play to our strengths or duplicate?”
Isa Pantami, the Special Guest of Honour and Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, commended CIBN for choosing the topic “Digital Economy”, relating it as appropriate. He stated four things key to digital economy as: digital identification, Broadband penetration, smart phones and Bank accounts.
“These are key to digital economy; two are directly under our mandate, broadband penetration and digital identification are directly under the government.” he said
He also said that Federal Government has attained an unprecedented contribution of ICT to GDP of more than 17%, broadband penetration, also more than 42%, achieved almost 10% increase in a year. “While Bank account is more related to your activities to promote the use of bank, smartphones is for individuals”