Monday, August 31, 2020 / 11:37 AM / CIBN / Header Image Credit: Twitter; @cibnigeria
The Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN) has inducted 1,864 banking professionals while urging the new inductees and bankers to take advantage of the digital economy to shape the future of the banking industry.
Mr. Bayo Olugbemi, President/Chairman of Council, CIBN, made the call during the weekend at the virtual 2020 CIBN Graduates Induction and Prize Awards Day with the theme: "Digital Economy: The Role of Professional Bankers".
Olugbemi stated that a total of 1,864 candidates were admitted into various 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 cut across five countries such as Nigeria, The Gambia, Ghana, Rwanda and Sierra-Leone
The induction, an annual ceremony of the Institute is the forum where the student -members who have completed their examinations and fulfilled all other conditions set by the Governing Council, are formally admitted into full professional membership of the Institute.
Olugbemi told the participants that "technology has caused significant disruption in the financial sector. This revolution for Professional Bankers implies that our people will need new skills. A successful Banker will combine digital awareness with great people skills".
He further stated that: "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 the 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".
Prof. Olayinka David-West, Guest Speaker and Professor of Information System, Academic Director, Lagos Business School 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.
She continued that "Our financial services ecosystem has recorded significant progress in areas like Bank Verification Number (BVN) and Instant Payments. The surge of customers on bank branches after the first phase of the lockdown presented some interesting challenges to the ecosystem and the digital economy in general".
David-West said: "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 that extends beyond digitalizing cash to developing financial solutions that meet the needs of the larger population," she said.
Prof David-West, urged the inductees and other senior bankers to reach out to 100 million adult Nigerians that require financial services through digital technology, noting that banking infrastructure has developed beyond physical branches that offer over-the-counter (OTC) services to digital (self-service) channels or touchpoints like automated teller machines (ATMs), Point of Sale (PoS) terminals and individual mobile devices.
She said that it was pertinent to note that the 2008 global financial crisis was the catalyst that led to the call to action by younger tech-savvy bankers to improve the application of technology to banking. Disillusioned with the antecedents of legacy players they encouraged 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 equally informed the gathering that "gaining a banking certification in a future world where banks may no longer exist posses a challenge. 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?".
In his speech, Dr. Isa Pantami, the Special Guest of Honour and Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, commended CIBN for choosing the topic "Digital Economy", describing it as appropriate. He listed four things key to the digital economy as digital identification, Broadband penetration, smartphones and Bank accounts. "These are key to the digital economy; two are directly under our mandate, broadband penetration and digital identification are directly under the government.
He also noted that the 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 a bank account is more related to activities to promote the use of a bank, smartphones are for individuals".