What really makes a Bank Digital? Experts tell it all


Digital wallet, unified payment system, mobile banking and online banking are becoming commonplace. But does that mean banks with these features are digital?

Digital banking is the digitization of traditional banking activities and programmes that historically were only available to customers when physically inside of a bank branch.

If you are a banker, online shopper, a tech savvy person, or even a regular bank customer, you must have definitely heard the word digital banking.

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Interestingly, most people have a different take on digital banking.

What then makes a bank digital? Six experts responded to our question.

Adedeji Olowe – CEO Trium Networks

Adedeji Olowe, CEO Trium Networks

Adedeji Olowe, the CEO of Trium Networks and co-founder of Open Banking is worried that calling a bank digital is more confusing than enlightening as the word has been overused to the point of irrelevance.

“However, from a simple perspective, digital banking is a new name to describe services provided by banks over electronic channels particularly web and mobile.

“A digital bank, on the other hand, is assumed to be a bank without physical infrastructure and where all interactions with customers (acquisition, customer support, etc.) are through their mobile/web apps or via emails.”

Deji Oguntonade – Divisional head, Fintech & Innovation, GTBank

Head, Fintech & Innovation, GTBank , Deji Oguntonade

Deji Oguntonade, the divisional head, Fintech & Innovation at GTBank said that a bank may be digital in part or in whole depending on the banking services channels made available.

According to him, where only nonphysical banking channels are available, then the bank can be referred to as completely digital.

He explained further, “should there be the requirement for a customer to interface with a human agent of the bank, in addition to available channel options such as mobile, online, ATM and telephone channels; then such a bank is partly digital.

Besides, he said, “a bank may also be said to be digital should interface with a bank agent be optional and not a requirement; meaning that all banking services may be carried out via digital channels.

“Generally, a bank or a banking service is digital where there is no physical interaction with the entity called bank, but banking services are still carried out successfully.

“Any bank that’s able to provide banking services without any physical interaction with a member of staff is digital.

“A bank is digital when they include nonphysical channels a fully digital bank taps into data and therewith able to provide respective customized services,” he submitted.

Emmanuel Agha – CEO of Innovectives

Emmanuel Agha, CEO, Innovectives

Emmanuel Agha, CEO of Innovectives said digital bank is one whose operating framework is built around distributing products and services through digital channels.

“Channels include mobile apps, USSD, branches, online, telephony. Traditional banks’ distribution model is built around a branch network. So it is all about the distribution model for product and services,” he explained.

Emeka Okoye – Senior Semantic Web Architect at Cymantiks Nigeria

Emeka Okoye, Senior Semantic Web Architect at Cymantiks Nigeria

Emeka Okoye, a senior Semantic Web Architect at Cymantiks Nigeria Limited is of the opinion that adigital bank is a bank whose culture and attitude is focused on being customer-centric and is data-driven.

He believes a digital bank is a player in the banking ecosystem that is willing to cooperate with “fellowfinancial institutions to create value” and is “built on a digital platform and strives for a faster innovative planning cycle”, he said.

Salami Abolore – Founder, Riby  

Founder/CEO, Riby, Salami Abolore

Salami Abolore, the founder of Riby, said a bank becomes fully digital when all its “key processes of lending, savings and value transfer of non-physical assets can be managed digitally” across all customers types.