Raheem Akingbolu writes on digitisation in the banking industry and how the recently unveiled VULTe by Polaris Bank will change the game and deepen the bank’s penetration in the market place
Few years ago, the debate among stakeholders in the banking industry was centered around whether Nigerians can easily key into the world of digital or not. Like every new innovation, it appeared cumbersome and even those who were positive thought it would take decades before the final switch over. Today, the adaptation to the new regime appears faster than imagined. Digitalisation in the banking industry hasn’t only revolutionised banking, it has stepped up competition and enhanced seamless operation. The bottom line is that the banking public is in for a new and better regime.
Within a span of 10 years, major banks in the market that want to stay relevant and play big have all rolled out digitalized innovations.
The beauty of it all is that every day, digitisation is taking the world by storm, with technology and advanced analytics penetrating every industry. In a way, this has rendered traditional banking systems almost obsolete, as BigTech and Fintech companies close in on the banking industry faster than ever. Banks are left with no option but to adopt digital banking in a major way if they hope to compete, and mass digitisation is no longer a choice, but inevitable. The truth is that banks have now embraced digital banking.
Digital banking is not a fixed concept, but a spectrum, and individual banks need to decide where on that spectrum they wish to place themselves. All of this is really a stepping stone to where the real future of banking lies – in platforms. The concept of Banking as A Platform (BAAP) is relatively new but has immense potential. Platform banking would provide a digital marketplace for banking (and perhaps even non-banking) services, increasing the limits of what it can provide. Yet, this objective is not easily achievable, and banks have many factors to consider before undertaking such an endeavour.
As things stand, existing banks are working hard to position themselves from the threat of entry of BigTech and Fintechs, and now they seem to be giving themselves the biggest advantages to stay on top. Digitisation of banking services has successfully eliminated the need for consumers to physically visit a bank branch. In the context of a global pandemic, traditional banking systems have become outmoded. Consumers want efficiency, accessibility, and demand essential banking services in a physically safe manner. This is where Big tech airmeirms and Fintechs are giving traditional banks a run for their money. No wonder, tech titans like Google, Facebook, Apple and Amazon are offering banking and financial services products directly to the consumer, at the tap of a button.
Enters the VULTe Platform…
Few weeks ago, Polaris Bank came out with a bang and unveiled The VULTe, which many analysts have since described as a democratic approach to banking services. With the VULTe, the Polaris brand has thus turned itself to bank of the people, by the people and for the people because of the demystification of the banking process.
As a digital tool, the VULTe is a convenient, easy and quick self-service digital solution from Polaris Bank, which allows users (New and Existing) access to range of banking services which includes; open account & wallet (NGN and USD), airtime & data top-up, fund account, funds transfer, bills payment and other banking operations.
In an apt description of what the bank was out to achieve with the new innovation, the Chief Digital Officer (CDO) of Polaris Bank, Dele Adeyinka, in one sentence explained what differentiates VULTe from any other digital banking platform out there.
According to the CDO, “VULTe is built as a platform; a rendezvous where value providers and value consumers align with payment as a fundamental medium of exchange.”
Few weeks after, the results are rolling out as users of VULTe share their experiences and how the tool is making the brand trend. The beauty of it all is that it takes only two key steps to access VULTe; a potential user’s Biometric Verification Number (BVN) and a selfie. The face on the selfie will be automatically compared with the one on the BVN using an advanced cognitive and artificial intelligence facial recognition technology before access is granted.
Part of the offering available in Polaris Bank’s VULTe that enables users to “serve themselves the way they want to be served” include: opening of accounts, setting of transaction limits, making multiple fund transfers at a go, verify identity documents, register biometrics, making inquiries and getting speedy responses and applying for instant loans.
A week after the official launch – the product had been made available to some persons, including customers before then, feedback on its use has been largely positive and elevating.
Speaking on the new innovation, Polaris Bank Managing Director, Innocent C Ike, describes it as the brand’s bold declaration to hand over control of banking services to its customers and allow them to serve themselves as they would want to be served.
This also aligns with some of the patrons of the brand who have shared their experiences. For instance, Superman Zia Usman. On May 20, 2021 noted; “Deep…rich contents…No fail transactions…user friendly. Earlier, Godwin Ikechukwu Allanah, had on May 19, 2021 commented; “Excellent app. With this app I am not scared of hacking because of the biometric features..It’s superb.” Another customer, Yinus Hassan on May 20, 2021 noted; “Indeed Vulte app is one of the best mobile banking services, it’s very convenient easy to transfer and no need for you to go (to) the bank for setup you can do it easily by yourself and you can even add the transaction limit on your own.” This was also the thought of Angor Edet, also on May 19, 2021, who exclaimed, “Wow, this is what you call a banking app. From now henceforth this is how you update an app, the interface totally set my soul on fire. The response time is great, Polaris just made it better.”
Through VULTe, Polaris Bank has received positive ratings from customers, with many describing the platform as convenient, user-friendly and secure.
Checks from a wide spectrum of customers in their various testimonials as captured on the Google Play and App store, assigned the digital bank service a five-star rating, stating that their user experience of the Polaris Bank’s VULTe was highly positive.
Considering the feedback it has generated in a few weeks, one is not surprised that the promoters of the Polaris brand rolled out the drums to usher in an innovative tool that is poised to deepen the bank’s penetration and services. In a way, the conversation it has generated shows that, as Foreman noted, Digital Banking’s future is already here. VULTe, as a new entrant in the growing community of Digital Banking solutions in Nigeria, has been created as a convenient, easy and quick self-service digital solution to enable access to banking services via mobile devices or on desktops.
Happening immediately following the announcement of an impressive full year customer deposits growth margin of N56billion, it would seem the launch of VULTe was designed for a singular purpose – to spike shareholder value through the time-honored route of enhanced consumer experience.
Meanwhile, in what looks like a major endorsement for the App, it can now be said to be BAAP embedded as many agencies and Fintech partners are signing on the open banking platform and positioning it to be the best in class, as of today in the digital banking space.
Culled from THISDAY