Theme; ”Open Banking and Its Derivative Opportunities for the Financial Ecosystem”
Olushola Okunlade Writes
At the 5th edition of the First Bank Fintech Summit, financial experts discussed around financial and technology industry, this year’s theme was focused on coming out of Africa’s largest economy as experts commend the success of proposed open banking services.
First Bank of Nigeria Limited, Nigeria’s leading financial services provider has positioned itself at the forefront of the conversation about what Fintech opportunities can come into Nigeria, this edition host leading players, policy influencers, and regulatory officials in the Nigerian financial, banking, and technological industry.
The Bank Annual FinTech Summit’s main purpose over the years is to converge thought leaders in the FinTech space to the champion discourse around financial technology and proffer solutions that will shape the future of banking.
Open Banking is the seamless connectivity that Fintech opportunities will bring and a demand for transparency and control over personal and business finances and making financial data available to third parties from banks and non-bank financial institutions via application programming interfaces (APIs).
Dr. Adesola Adeduntan, MD/CEO of First Bank, in his opening remark stated that: “The summit is organized by the bank to create a global platform for conversation around the future of innovations in the financial services sector particularly the financial technology space and our objective is to contribute to the rapid evolution or revolution in the banking and financial services delivery. For us, open banking today demonstrates the practical features of these variables that have covered presenting remarkable potentials that can only define product development, customer experience, and overall value creation within the financial services system with significant multiplier effects not just for players but even for consumers of financial services products. “We believe there is enough space for continuous innovation and for us as an economy to rapidly embrace this with the view to materially upgrade the quality of financial services in Nigeria.
He further added that “As an institution that is over 127 years old, Our bank will have transferred series of industry transformations and we will continue to play a leading role in furthering the conversations on refining the regulatory frameworks and shaping the industry not just on open banking but for all contemporary issues that will impact our industry. We will also continue to demonstrate our support for startups and innovators in this fintech space by providing them with relevant data, support, and infrastructure to enable them to scale appropriately, every step we take continue to be geared towards strategically positioning our institution as a breach head and the reference point for fintech and financial services industry providers across the continent given our presence in at least six other African locations potentially that will go up as we continue to lead the change towards realizing the future of banking. “I am particularly very optimistic that the financial services industry will benefit from the conversations at today’s summit, I am also very positive that this platform will continue to come up with innovative solutions to further drive growth and deepen financial inclusion just as we’re exploring errant opportunities to go for banking with other experts across the industry,” he concluded.
Experts said the proposed Open Banking services will open a new vista of economic prosperity and financial inclusion to millions of Nigerians if properly regulated.
The experts spoke at an online summit, the FirstBank Fintech Summit with the theme (Open Banking & its Derivative Opportunities for the Financial Ecosystem).
Guest Speaker, Professor Ndubuisi Ekekwe, noted that “Open Banking is a vista to advance the financial services sector, and accelerate innovation and improve service delivery for citizens, unbounded and unconstrained by disparate ecosystems.”
According to him, “Financial APIs will change economies, but they can only be super-potent if powered within a unified regime which open banking offers. Across all domains, “open” offers abundance, and open banking has a promise to redesign industrial architectures and unleashes a new dawn for the wealth in nations.”
He explained that “As we moved from voice telephony to the mobile internet age, we upgraded that “intra-bank” to “inter-bank”, through NIBBS, offering a unified quasi-banking ordinance. With Open Banking, this evolution goes beyond banks to now including insurance, mortgage, etc to drive the new age of application utility era which I expect to be massive.”
A financial expert and Director at PriceWaterHouseCooper, Mr. Ankit Sharma opined that for Nigerian banks to successfully engage the open banking operations, they must identify their areas of strength and ensure product and customer relationships focus top their agenda.
According to Sharma, ” banks must know which model will best work for them. Banks should know the kind of financial services and solutions they offer to see how it works”.
On what banks should do to get ready for the open banking operations, Sharma said they must work on technology, strengthen and government regulatory mechanisms and also sensitize customers on the benefits of open banking.
Representative of the Central Bank of Nigeria at the summit, Mr. Ope Adeoye said “the framework now is to get everyone talking as to how we intend to eventually have no open banking regime” affirming that the apex bank will support organizations in developing talents for the operations of the financial ecosystem.