Nigerian banks rely on technology, a lot! But they’re also quite slow to latch on to tech trends emerging at various points. And this is more evident with the recent growth of fintech startups disrupting the entire banking industry.
Many Nigerian banks have been slow to adopt their technology or develop rival innovations. Banks’ tech adoption has been slow largely due to cost of tweaking legacy solutions and systems. Yet today, there’s a popular belief that rising fintech innovation would eventually make many Nigerian banks obsolete. This worry is real, even for industry regulator, CBN. And banks have been forced to act.
Over the last 12 months, a number of Nigerian banks have impressively upped their technologies. They have adopted new technology to improve customer relations and provide more diverse banking services.
Here are five of the most technologically advanced Nigerian banks of 2018.
First Bank is Nigeria’s largest bank by total number of customers (the merger between Diamond bank and Access bank still won’t change this yet). It is also one of Nigeria oldest banks and this makes it least likely to adopt new technology quickly. However in 2018, First Bank didn’t relent.
Imagine a world where you can engage with your bank via Whatsapp…Don’t imagine, it’s here!— FirstBank Nigeria (@FirstBankngr) August 2, 2018
Receiving real-time responses on all your questions is now a reality with FirstBank ‘Chat Banking’ suite. #WhatsappBanking#Bankinggetscloser #Jointhetrain #Innovation #YouFirst pic.twitter.com/dw6xkTaaR6
In August, following important updates to the Whatsapp Business platform, First Bank took notice and latched onto the platform. It launched “Chat Business” to provide a personalized messaging platform for business. Via the platform, customers can make inquiries and pay bills, among other things.
Fidelity bank is a very low-key bank both in terms of revenue and customer reach. This year however, they came out blazing, somewhat. Fidelity bank launched FlashKey, an android keyboard app that makes it easy for users to make payments even when they’re chatting.
The innovation is quite cool from a tech point of view. Plus it shows that Nigerian banks are actually looking to create some disruptive technologies by themselves.
Diamond Bank (Now Merging With Access Bank)
Diamond Bank may have agreed to be absorbed into Access Bank, but that doesn’t detract the fact that they have been one of the most tech-savvy banks of 2018.
In March 2018, Diamond Bank unveiled its own chatbot: Ada Zainab Ajayi (AKA Ada). Ada is an AI powered chatbot created to provide banking and financial service assistance via Facebook. Ada allows users carry out transactions such as airtime purchase, bill payments and even stock trading via the social network.
Wema Bank is one bank that has completely rebranded all round. The launch of ALAT banking app last year helped to greatly improve its rep among Nigerian banks. ALAT is a completely digital bank with no physical presence. But it offers higher interest rates on deposits than regular banks, mostly thanks to reduced operational costs.
Since the start of the year, ALAT has played a key role in Wema Bank’s operations. And by July 2018, the bank announced that ALAT helped increase its deposits by 39% in the first 6 months of 2018.
UBA is by far the most technologically sophisticated bank of 2018. Since the start of the year, the bank has taken advantage of a few tech trends to bolster its brand.
In January, the bank became the first Nigerian bank to develop its own chatbot system. Called Leo, the chatbot is powered by artificial intelligence and was developed in partnership with Facebook Messenger. Leo can open a new bank account, check an account balance, buy airtime, and carry out a funds transfer for customers.
But Leo doesn’t work on Facebook alone. In July, the bank took advantage of new updates on Whatsapp Business, now the chatbot is available for Whatsapp user.
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