Will Banks Become Tech Companies to Survive Fintech Challenges?

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Banks will gradually become technology companies with a banking license. Healthcare companies will be technology with healthcare licenses and more.” Onyeagwu spoke at the technology fair organised by the bank in Lagos.


Your needs have not changed. However, the shape and form of your banker have remained the same. Your banker either lends or saves your fund. This has not changed. Nevertheless, how it delivers these capabilities is changing.

For instance, do you remember the days of the tally number? In addition, the long delay? When you would spend hours at the banking hall?

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The delays have morphed into a network glitch. One of the top banks has been experiencing network downtime for the past two weeks. As a customer of this particular bank, you have received your “tally number.” Please wait.

On the one hand

Technology and mobile phones have taken over the role of your bank. While you do not visit the bank as often as before, most times you have to wait due to network downtime. With a device, you can access your bank at any time. Day or night. Your bank can serve you digitally. Now. Your bank is investing in an Omni-channel.

You can meet your bank at the ATM. You can hobnob with it on the internet. You can hold a dialogue at the point of sales. You will not remember you are in the confines of your bank until you experience network breakdown. Until it is impossible to have the same seamless experience. That is when technology goes awry.

Ebenezer Onyeagwu emerges Best Banking CEO of the year in Africa in the  International Banker awards 2023

But the slight technology glitch has not deterred the banks from deepening their technology investment. In South Africa, Standard Bank and FirstRand Bank have adopted digital technologies. They want to remain competitive.

In India, ICICI Bank and HDFC Bank are leading the adoption of digital technologies. They are offering digital banking services to a growing population of smartphone users. In Russia, Sberbank has invested in technology to improve its digital services. It plans to become one of the largest banks in the world.

On the other hand

First Bank has deployed an agile and resilient technology-enabled innovation that allows it to stay ahead of the curve. Zenith Bank is using technology to create innovative products that meet the needs of its teeming customers. GTB’s use of technology and its commitment to offer socially responsible banking. Access Bank has invested in leading the evolution. It has a partnership with the Africa Fintech Foundry (AFF) to nurture the next generation of cutting-edge financial firms.

The investment has not turned the banks into fintech firms. In reality, it has prepared the banks for the future. It has empowered them. It has still not made them as dynamic as the fintechs. But having the understanding of what the future holds in the financial system is an advantage. Using technology to serve the customers is an edge. Will the banks turn into fintechs? It is difficult. It is difficult for the camel to compete with whale in the ocean.

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Dr Ebenezer Onyeagwu, MD/CEO of Zenith Bank said any company that will be relevant either has to be a technology company. Or a company using “tech to deliver its unique sector-based products and services.” Banks will gradually become technology companies with a banking license. Healthcare companies will be technology with healthcare licenses and more.” Onyeagwu spoke at the technology fair organised by the bank in Lagos.

Max Santos, a senior Technical Programme Manager, wrote on LinkedIn that traditional banks will not be replaced by bigtech. Banks have vast experience in financial services and a proven record of security and stability.

“This gives the banks an advantage over technology companies that are entering the financial sector. Instead, banks and technology companies will likely work together to offer innovative and personalized financial solutions to customers. It is a simple message. If you’re not investing in technology, you’re falling behind,” Santos said.

In the short term

With all the glam, oomph, and tech investment by the banks, banking has still not changed!

Fintech still holds the ace. Because your taste has changed.

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