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 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 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 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. 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.
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 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 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 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.
Prof David-West, then urging the inductees and bankers to reach out on 100 million adult Nigerians for introduction of the state of the financial infrastructure through digital, 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.
It is pertinent to mention that 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 equally informed the gathering that ‘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?’.
In his intervention, 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 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 also noted 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,”