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‘A payment service bank is not disruption’

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Segun Agbaje, chief executive officer, GTbank says that the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) authorization for Fintechs, telecommunications operators and other companies to set up Payment Service Banks (PSBs) in Nigeria is not a threat to traditional banking.

Speaking at a session themed; ‘The future of Banking’, at the recently concluded Social Media Week Lagos 2019, Agbaje said that banks are not waiting to be disrupted by fintechs, telcos or any other company, as they have started to disrupt themselves with cutting edge technology solutions that can compete with any other sector.

“Although many believe that the permission for telcos to play in the financial services sector is a threat to banks, the truth is that a PSB is not disruption because it has already been done with Mpesa in Kenya. We need a telco that is brave enough to significantly drive down the cost of data or do something like the change from per-minute to per-second billing, that was disruption in the telecoms industry,” he said.

“I welcome telcos as a competition, all I ask is that there should be a level playing field,” Agbaje added.

According to him, GTBank is disrupting itself by transforming from just providing banking services to playing in different sectors, leveraging technology as a vital tool for growth and development.

“We have created all sorts of life changing platforms such as Ndani online TV, Quick Credit, GTWorld and very recently, we launched Habari, the mobile app that brings everything we do, including e-commerce, payment module, news, entertainment and much more, on one platform,” Agbaje said.

Leading telecommunication service providers, MTN Nigeria, Globacom and Airtel Nigeria have shown major interest in operating in the financialservices space and have applied for mobile banking licenses as stipulated in the payment service banking policy guidelines released by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

Once granted a banking license, Nigerians will be able to experience a lot more financial services on their phones, including paying for goods and services, and withdrawing money from recognised payment service agents on the roadside. However, the telecom companies are not allowed to collect deposits or give out loans.

The mobile operators had in September 2018 revealed their commitment to deepening financial inclusion and providing Nigerians with access to a range of affordable financial services.

Current financial exclusion levels stand at over 40 percent. It is argued that the significant gap could be covered to meet Nigeria’s target of 20 percent financial exclusion by 2020.

 

JUMOKE AKIYODE-LAWANSON

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