Fidelity Bank’s innovative products set to drive CBN’s financial inclusion ambitions
With the disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, Nigerian Banks are finding that innovation is a critical requirement for survival even in the short term. This is especially germane given the new vista opened by digital banking solutions as well as the drive to close the financial inclusion gap in the country.
In the last decade, technological innovations have been established to be even more important to human existence and development, as they create avenues for enormous impact on human convenience and economic advancement. The National Centre for Technology Management (NACETEM), an agency of Nigeria’s Federal Ministry of Science and Technology that provides critical knowledge support in the area of Science, Technology, and Innovation, has recently gone on record to reiterate the importance of technological advancements in the country and how it impacts levels of growth. This does not exclude Nigeria’s banking industry.
Positioning itself as a leader in innovative technologies within the banking industry, Fidelity Bank has, in the past few months, rolled out digital customer-friendly innovations such as Fidelity Insight, Fidelity Virtual Cards, the Pay Yourself initiative for corporates, the Fidelity Loan Against Turnover (FLOAT), and a feature that allows customers to generate a stamped statement of accounts. With these innovations, the fast-growing tier 2 bank has set out to address common transactional headaches of Nigerians.
Across the demography of working Nigerians, it is common to find employees on edge over the expectancy of their salary payments at the end of every month. Oftentimes, the payment is delayed as organisations struggle to complete payment processes on time. This headache is what Fidelity Bank’s Pay Yourself innovation is designed to solve. With the initiative, employees are able to decide when they want to receive their salaries via USSD between the ‘official’ payday and the last day of the month. In simpler terms, salary earners can decide to pay themselves whenever they want.
The Covid-19 pandemic brought with it new challenges of a necessity for reduced human physical interactions and has prompted many organisations to adopt the Work From Home (WFH) policy. There is also the category of people who find long queues at the Automated Teller Machine centres repulsive.
The introduction of the Fidelity Virtual Card by the Bank solves this headache. The innovation which has been specifically designed for web transactions can be used to shop on local or international online stores, pay bills, subscribe to services, amongst other things. An impressive characteristic of the Fidelity Virtual Card, which is best described as another secure payment option similar to the physical payment cards, is the ease with which the bank’s new and existing customers can generate their cards.
Applications for loans from banking institutions can sometimes be tedious, with many Nigerians finding the processes and requirements to secure loans too much headache to follow through. Fidelity Bank has deliberately set out to bridge this gap, introducing customer-friendly loan schemes such as the Fidelity Loan On Account Turnover (FLOAT). What particularly makes this product exciting is its easy terms and attributes, including no required collateral, guarantor or hidden fees.
On its part, the Fidelity Insight initiative provides customers with an insight into their spending patterns. For people who are dangerously casual with tracking their spendings, especially in a tough economy, the Fidelity Insight is a brilliant way to monitor financial dealings and make strategic spending plans.
At a time when demand for customer engagement and satisfaction is at its peak, technological innovations are even more important and critical to the assured growth of the banking sector. A new, fast-paced world of digitalisation means banking institutions now have to be on their toes in adopting efficient service delivery technologies to satisfy unabating customer thirst for smoother processes and innovative products in their day-to-day financial dealings.
Adopting inclusive digital culture encourages the remodeling or replacement of existing models in the development of service delivery by banking institutions. This ultimately leads to the creation of competitive intelligence or advantage among players in the sector. Other positives that can be attributed to digital innovations include continuous process improvement, improvement in brand recognition and value, the establishment of new partnerships and relationships, and increase in profitability.
As the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) targets a 95 per cent financial inclusion rate of Nigerians going into 2024, there is no gainsaying that the Nigerian banking industry owes a lot to their customers in terms of innovative products and services. With its bouquet of innovative solutions, it abundantly clear that Fidelity Bank is not only ready but willing to make CBN’s ambition a reality.
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