The Future of Banking: Harnessing the Vast Opportunities of Digital for Sustainable Banking
With the adoption of modern technologies, Nigeria’s banking system is gradually shifting away from “across the counter” transactions and toward transactions at the customers’ fingertips.
This new era has posed a challenge to traditional banking methods, forging a new path for providing services outside of the physical walls of a banking hall. It has also created a channel for banks to meet their customers where they are and serve their ever-changing banking and finance needs.
The unprecedented impact of the COVID-19 pandemic emphasized the need for digital transformation. The pandemic and its attendant lockdown were like no other messengers, emphasizing the importance of banks digitizing their operations as much as possible. It is now imperative for banks to develop strategies to serve their customers efficiently outside of the confines of a banking hall.
The age demographic age groups of Nigerian citizens are adding to the demand presented by the pandemic for more digitisation of banking processes. A
ccording to a recent United Nations population projection for 2020, Nigeria’s largest population is under 30 years old.
Sixty-two percent of Nigerians are under the age of 25, representing a large market of innovative young people who live fast-paced lives and are constantly on the lookout for institutions that will meet the demands of their 21-century lifestyle.
Banks that adapt their processes to digital transformations and industry disruptions will reap the many benefits that it offers.
Some banks have already begun to capitalize on these enormous opportunities. Access Bank and UBA, for example, have developed a number of user-friendly digital products, services, and platforms, as well as chat banking with virtual assistants such as UBA’s Leo.
Fidelity Bank, on the other hand, is at the forefront of the conversation with its award-winning virtual assistant, IVY.
Due to its efficient and quick service delivery, Fidelity Bank’s IVY emerged as the “clear leader” of the rest of the chatbots in the 2020 KPMG Digital Channels Scorecard. IVY achieved the difficult distinction of ‘best chatbot of 2020′ by providing sophisticated and straightforward services such as complaint resolution, account opening, fast funds transfer, bill payment, and transferring users to a live agent, loans, fixed deposit applications, and answering random questions are all possibilities. Fidelity Bank, a forward-thinking and leading tier 2 bank, is well on its way to becoming a tier 1 bank by 2025.
With foresight into the future, the bank has undergone a significant evolution of business culture over the last few years to improve operational efficiency and expand market share. The bank’s technological push and digital transformation initiatives have positioned it as one of Nigeria’s leading banks in terms of leveraging automation and robotics to replace manual and repetitive processes.
Their digital offerings are the most innovative in the industry, with nearly 90 percent of transactions now handled outside of their brick-and-mortar branch network. The success of their adopted digital culture can be seen in the performance trend over the last few years, which has even been maintained despite the impact of the pandemic. The journey began with the introduction of their trailblazing initiative, the flagship instant banking product *770#, which was the first of its kind in the Nigerian banking industry. This has paved the way for other successful digital banking services.
Now, more than ever, is the time for banks to revisit and question issues of efficiency and productivity, leveraging technology to better serve customers. Strategies such as online training for employees, virtual performance management sessions, and remote working for specific jobs are critical to ensuring long-term viability. The future of banking is digital. That means more banks must be willing to take the Fidelity Bank approach to digital transformation if they will survive the competition and serve into the distant future.
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