Deposit banks and fintech companies need to learn from their previous mistakes in driving financial inclusion in Nigeria.
The Chief Executive Officer of Financial Institution Training Centre, (FITC), Mrs. Chizor Malize made this known recently in Lagos as the keynote at the third edition of Industry Summit/Awards formerly known as Industry evening summit with the theme: “Financial inclusion, digital payment and the challenges of banking the unbanked”.
According to her, “the CBN has led in the forefront of this drive. But to drastically reduced those segments of the unbanked and underserved, there is a need for synergy and collaboration between the deposit banks, fintech and
“Low cost of transactions, and greater expansion in reach and a reduction in the use of cash for business dealings will happen when synergy is achieved.” She added.
While highlighting on the issue of collateral, she stressed that, “another major hurdle is the request for collateral when giving out loans. Most
low-income earners cannot afford a collateral. Therefore, they opt not to go to deposit bank. Instead, they prefer borrowing money from loan sharks who give them at very high interest.”
“According to Proshare Nigeria, there are over two hundred (200) Fintech companies currently operating in Nigeria. This translates into about $560million USD in investments between 2019 to 2021.” She noted.
She pointed out that, the rise of these companies can be attributed to the increase in penetration of smartphone devices and the increase in the use of digital channels and agents to reach the underserved an unbanked in rural areas, adding that, some of these fintech have also personalized their services to make it easy for person to use their services including mailing of ATM cards to customers who open accounts online.
Also speaking, one of the panalist, Mojeed Jamiu, publisher/CEO, Upshot said; “there is the need for regulatory authority to harmonise our data base, what is the essence of demanding for utility bill among others when creating a new account when at different points some of these data have been demanded.
On his part, a panalist, Akeem Salami, Head of product and innovations, 9PSB disclosed that, “if we continuously educate people eventually even the illiterate ones will fall on board. For us, the exclusion of the unbanked arise from lack of education and so, we have a situation where even if these people can’t read at least they can be captured through voice command.”
For a panalist, Chioma Afe, Group Head, Retail Marketing and Analytics, Access bank, collaborating with the telcos is a way of reaching the last mile, adding that, financial inclusion is also about the last mile, and Access Bank bank as a financial institution is tapping into that lifestyle.
Also, a member of the panel of discussant, David Okeme, Executive Director, Systemspec pointed out that,
one of the big drivers of financial inclusion is how do we make it driveable? Noting that, it is not just about the banks creating financial institutions but how we create wealth in the country.
Earlier in his welcome address, the convener of the event and the Editor-in-Chief of the Industry Newspapers, Goddie Ofose who welcomed everyone to the event said; “we are no expert on this subject matter, that is why we have gathered the best of the best in the industry to do justice to this matter, and we sincerely hope that, in the end, justice would be done. The missing puzzle would be found, issues around the growing unbanked population would be sorted.”
He noted that, “let also use the medium to thank our panelists: Mr. David Okeme, Divisional Head, Payment Solutions & Vertical Market, Systemspecs, Mrs. Chioma Afe, Group Head, Retail Marketing & Analytics, Access Bank Plc, Mrs. Branka Mracajac, MD/CEO, 9 Payment Services Bank (9PSB), Ms. Cherry Eromosele, Group Chief Marketing & Corporate Communication Officer, Interswitch, Mrs. Bola Atta, Group Director, Communications UBA Plc, Mr. Babs Ogundeyi, CEO, Kuda Microfinance Bank and Mr. Chuma Ezirim, Group Executive, e-Business and Retail Products, FirstBank Limited, Oti Ukubenyenji, Snr. Vice President, Product Retail, Terragon as well as our moderator, Alhaji Mojeed Jamiu, an erudite financial journalist and publisher of Upshot Reports.”
According to him, “this programme is two legged. The first is this morning session and the second leg is the dinner and awards that will be coming later this evening. I wish to appeal to everyone here to kindly honour us with your presence and we won’t take you for granted.”