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Banks Will Complement Fintech Companies If They Innovate

Herbert Wigwe, the Group Managing Director and CEO of Access Bank is also the chairman of UP

The rising incursion of Financial Technology (Fintech) companies into areas hitherto dominated by traditional banks will be complementary if the banks become more innovative.

This was part of the submission of experts, who spoke at the Disrupt 2019 Africa Fintech Foundry (AFF) conference organised by Access Bank in Lagos yesterday.

With the theme ‘Digital Gold Rush: Building a Sustainable Tech-Economy’, local and international experts at the event stressed the need for more collaboration between fintechs and the banking community for the betterment of the economy.

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Besides, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) said it is almost concluding plans to regulate the fintech community in Nigeria.

Welcoming the over 5,000 participants at the Landmark Hall, Head of AFF, Segun Adeniyi, said the platform was created to help inventors harness the power of their innovations, give them a platform to test, to market, and provide them unparalleled access to global financial, technology, business and investor partner networks.

Speaking on ‘Enabling Investments: Making the Regulations Clearer’, CBN Director, Payments and Settlements, Sam Okojere, said a document was being developed in line with on-going efforts to evolve a robust collateral management regime, which will be proportionate to transactional level of participants within the payment system.

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Disclosing that the CBN has become more proactive, Okojere noted that the apex bank was working with stakeholders for a proper regulation for the fintech community.

According him, the CBN is in partnership with 17 working groups to evolve a regulation for the emerging sub-sector.

Chief executive officer, Access Bank, Dr. Herbert Wigwe, who chronicled the banking journey in the last 40 years from tally to teller, said from a business perspective and with the benefit of hindsight, traditional banking environment did not provide opportunities for scalability.

Wigwe said: “Most years, it was business as usual. Banking processes were manual and in-branch, creating the need for brick-and-mortar branches with their expensive overheads, and in the case of Nigeria, low level of financial inclusion.

“But technology has changed everything. Not only is this continuing, the rate of development and evolution is speeding up exponentially.”

Charging entrepreneurs and start-ups to be forward-thinking, inward-looking and proactive, chairman of Zinox Group, Leo Stan Ekeh, said start-ups must first of all audit themselves.

Ekeh, who said the government is still analog-driven, urged start-ups, especially those in the technology sector, to be focused and shun immediate pleasure.

“An entrepreneur in Nigeria needs 40 per cent commonsense, 40 per cent of the business and 20 per cent spirituality because this is Africa,” he added.