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Economic Growth: Ecobank Advocates Collaboration Among Industry Stakeholders

-by our correspondent

One of Africa’s leading commercial lenders, Ecobank Nigeria, has called for closer collaboration among  Banks, Telcos, Fintechs and industry regulators to enhance savings and lending in the financial landscape.

The Managing Director of the Bank, Patrick Akinwuntan, who made the call at a forum with the theme: ‘Fintech in Nigeria: State of Play’ said such collaborations will generate activities in the economy and expand wealth creation.

In his words, “we are not at the stage of competition yet; we are at a situation where although we have our profitability interests, we will actually gain much more by collaborating”.

According to Akinwuntan, the Fintech industry is currently more active in facilitating payments as against wealth creation, which is the ultimate goal for financial inclusion. “The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has been proactive in providing a regulatory environment for the collaboration of players with emphasis on customer protection which has improved customers’ trust in using digital channels.” He noted.

“We have invested significantly in our digital platforms; given the nature of Ecobank as a pan African institution, the only way we could reach every household is to leverage the digital platform, there has been a marked growth in the number of digital based transactions as our customers continue in their way of life depending on these platforms” He added.

Managing Director Ecobank Nigeria, Patrick Akinwuntan

The Ecobank Managing Director noted that the lockdown necessitated by the Covid-19 pandemic propelled the Fintech industry to its current height in the country, especially in the payment space and increasingly in lending and savings even as the bank provided uninterrupted banking services for its customers through its digital platforms and agency banking outlets during the lockdown.

“Between March and April, the number of transactions in the payment space for Fintech grew in multiples of close to 800%, we saw significant participation of the Fintech industry in actually reaching more of the underserved in the market by reducing cost of access and making these services available all the time ether by using traditional banks or in collaboration with government agencies.”

For his part, the Director of Payment System Management, CBN, Musa Jimoh, said the apex bank’s regulation is driven by innovation.  “We have come up with regulations that will enable all the participants behave symbiotically; our payment system directive will be driven by the innovation in the banks,” Jimoh noted.

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