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Invest in digital skill sets for next generation banking, Ecobank tells banks’

The Chief Executive of leading continental retail banking giant, Ecobank Nigeria, Mr. Patrick Akinwuntan has warned that in view of the speed with which digital innovations are changing banking narratives, it has become imperative for financial institutions to embark on training and retraining of their staff on skill sets to face the future.

He said digitally driven skill sets and knowledge-scope are needed to meet the challenges of a fast-changing business environment and marketplace.

Speaking at the 2019 graduates’ induction and prize award event of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN) in Lagos, Akinwuntan argued that such skill sets acquisition requires urgency, with deliberate efforts, to remain relevant in the evolving world of digital disruptions.

Whereas in his address, the President of CIBN, Dr. Uche Olowu, said increasing competition in the digitised banking environment would no longer be between banks, but with non-banking institutions, he added that “Fintech and big technology companies like Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple are now capturing more of the banking value chain. Furthermore, payment service banking is set to further disrupt the banking industry.

“For example, as of July 2019, telecommunications companies like MTN and Airtel Nigeria had been granted licences by the Central Bank of Nigeria. PWC suggests that from 2025-2035, a market economy would readily exist without traditional banks.

“Therefore, operators and professionals must reposition for relevance in the changing environment,” Olowu said.

Continuing, Ecobank chief, who spoke on a paper titled: “Repositioning for Relevance in a Competitive Environment”, averred that “The banking sector is undergoing significant disruptions in a bid to remain relevant, increase convenience, productivity and ensuring banking is simple for individuals and businesses alike.

He argued further that bankers must respond through repositioning, adoption of and adaptation to potentially disruptive technologies in their career models and strategies.

According to him, “The banking sector will undergo further disruption. Yesterday, we had nothing like the digital apps in use today; tomorrow, we are certain of further disruption underlined by artificial intelligence, machine learning, robotics, big data analytics, among others. We must therefore brace up for these competitive threats.”

“Personal and professional repositioning requires vision, unflinching self-belief, courage, diligence and the willingness to dare.“You are the next wave of professionals set to redefine Nigeria and its economic landscape, you must rise to the occasion by fulfilling that promise,” Ecobank Nigeria chief told the graduates.