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Becoming an intelligent bank today no more an option but necessity—Access Bank chief

Managing Director and Chief Executive of Access Bank Plc., Mr Herbert Wigwe, Thursday opened up at the 2019 Disrupt Summit, a mixed gathering of technology pioneers and start-ups, saying “Becoming an intelligent bank today is not an option but a necessity”.
Has averred that becoming an intelligent bank today has seriously become a necessity for any forward-looking financial institution that wants to remain relevant in business space.
Speaking at the yearly event hosted by Africa FinTech Foundry (AFF), an Access Bank technology startup empowering scheme, he added that “Even though Banking has come this far, the future holds a lot more than what the past has ever held,” and agreed that “Leveraging such technology, as artificial intelligence and utilizing data analytics is imperative if Banks and Fintechs are to remain competitive”.
According to him, “Technology is redefining the way Banks operate. Artificial Intelligence, Big Data, Cloud Computing, Virtual Reality, Cryptocurrency all bring enormous opportunities for Banks to significantly improve the way customers access and manage finances”.
“Thanks to automation technology, Banks and Fintech’s are able to grant credit in seconds! Artificial Intelligence reviews legal documents.
In an example, Wigwe recalled that “A manual review of 12,000 documents use to take 360,000 hours, but today, this can be done in seconds using Artificial intelligence!”
He further noted that currently, “Blockchain can be used to execute smart contracts, eliminating manual costs of transactions!”
“Robotics technology is used to serve customers in Banks.
“Only one decade ago, we could not have imagined such advances.
While agreeing that there is so much that can be done with Data, Access Bank boss stressed that “Big Data Analytics helps an intelligent bank understand its customers. This data categorises customers and analyses their behaviour and needs. Such understanding improves product development and enables effective cross and up-selling”.
While noting that “Technology has changed everything in banking business,” Wigwe added that not only are the changes continuing, “The rate of development and evolution is speeding up exponentially”.
“Let me explain. The first computers were designs on paper and made by hand.
“Today, they are designed on a computer with the computers themselves working out many details of the next generation’s design.
“The new products are produced in fully-automated factories with only limited human intervention.
“Because each generation of technology improves over the last, the rate of progress from version to version is speeding up. It has been estimated that we won’t experience 100 years of progress in the 21st century. It will be more like 20,000 years of progress, calculated at today’s rate,” Wigwe added.
Continuing, he recalled that “As bankers, we are enjoying the current ride of improvement and scalability that technology provides”.
“But my goodness, fasten your seat belts because I predict this is nothing in comparison to what we will see over the next 50 years, or less.
“Today, we are experiencing the fourth industrial revolution which uses the ‘Internet of Things’, and Cloud Technology to automate processes.
“This has enabled Financial Service providers to increase their digital offerings for customers so they can conduct banking transactions on mobile phones, the internet, and at the ATM.
According to him, “The only waiting time today is how fast your internet connection is! And hey! 5G is already here”.
Going down memory lane, the banking wizkid recalled that “30 – 40 years ago, bank tellers used adding machines to check the addition of bank deposits. They used ledger cards, posted nightly, to keep track of account transactions and balances.
“25 years ago if you needed cash or you needed to make a deposit you visited your bank and hoped there wasn’t a long line of people waiting to do the same thing.
“Some of us remember the days of “tally numbers” when, on our way to work, had to stop by our banks to pick up our “tally number”, and return during lunch break to carry our basic cash transaction.
“And to borrow from the words of Tom Friedman, 15 years ago Facebook hardly existed Twitter was the sound of birds the cloud was in the sky 4G was a parking place LinkedIn was a prison applications were what you sent to college and Skype, for most people, was a typo.
Wigwe told participants’ that “With the prolific opportunities digital banking brings, Banks are now competing on the nature of innovation that can provide solutions, handle and predict customer behaviour in an incredible fast manner”.
Several other industry captains spoke at the event which saw more than 10,000 startups learning and hearing direct form critical industry stakeholders so as to fine-tune their future exploits.