Is Nigeria Ready for Digital Banking?

The need for digital banking is felt more intensely in Nigeria with the evident improvement in financial inclusion in the country. Segun Agbaje, the Managing Director and CEO of Guaranty Trust Bank or GTBank actually informs us that there are several people in Africa who have chosen to remain “outside the banking system”. GTBank remains one of the leading financial institutions of the country and its CEO opines that financial inclusion is a crucial to the development of an organized society.

The Present Economic Condition of Nigeria

At present, Nigeria is staring at a possible meltdown, but the country has definitely woken up to the concept of digitization of the core national banking strategy – which, of course, has paved the way for improved financial inclusion in the country.

Now, why has it been claimed that Africa’s overall financial inclusion has been given more room to grow? Well Agbaje has a valid pointer to substantiate this claim. He said that even ten years ago, it was hard to find any data related to financial inclusion. Today, however, with the substantial data available, they know which areas need improvement so that the country in general enjoys better access to financial services. While speaking to World Finance, he clarified that the pace of growth isn’t really super fast but definitely steady.

Better Economic Inclusion: Nigeria is Right on Track

Notably, the Central Bank of Nigeria has predicted that the number of adult Nigerians with access to payment services will grow by 70% in the year 2020. There has been a heartening increase in access to credit, savings, pensions and insurance as well. GTBank – realizing that there is much more to be done is ready to harness digital technology in a bid to expand services.

The marked lack of physical access to banks and insufficient understanding of the traditional modes of banking and its products and services are just a few of the reasons behind the widespread financial exclusion in the country. Notably, it is technology which is consistently aiding new age financial institutions to scale these challenges thereby paving the way for improved financial inclusion in the country.

The Role Played by Digi-Banking

GTBank’s Bank 737, for instance, provides banking services to millions of people in Nigeria having mobile devices. The best part is that they are not required to access the internet in order to open an account. Anyone with a registered mobile number (in Nigeria) can open an account, check balance by dialing *737#, transfer funds or buy airtime. This has facilitated financial inclusion in a major way. Bank 737 is backed by USSD technology. It blithely does away with the need for internet banking since steady internet services are hard to find on a consistent basis in the continent. By doing so, it has encouraged the phenomenon of inclusive banking in the country. In future, the economy of the country is sure to reap benefits of this path breaking endeavor from GTBank.

Keny’s M-Pesa mobile money transfer facilities, for instance, have been able to prove that the country is ready to embrace digital banking to facilitate exemplary financial milestones that it (i.e. Kenya) is aiming for. Two-thirds of the country’s population is now using this financial platform.

GTBank is clearly on its way to introduce similar avenues of financial growth in Nigeria.