BFTBankingSurvey2022: Banks poised to lead financial services innovation – FBN Bank MD

FBN Bank partners gov’t’s YouStart initiative
Victor Yaw Asante, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of FBN Bank

The unwavering commitment to innovation, coupled with a robust track record and access to resources will ensure that banks continue to spearhead innovation in the financial services delivery sector, Managing Director and Chief Executive of FBN Bank, Victor Asante, has said.

In his estimation, since banks have long turned to technology to transform their operations and deliver enhanced solutions for clients, recent developments have only served to accelerate the drive toward digitalisation as banks now aggressively seek innovative ways to adjust to new realities and position themselves and their clients for tomorrow’s opportunities.

“Banking has only started from an innovation perspective, we have not peaked at all. We now have more tools to be innovative and at a faster pace,” he said in an interview with the B&FT on the eve of its review of the industry’s performance for the 2021 financial year.

The FBN Bank boss insisted that at the heart of banking is service delivery aimed at enhancing the customer experience in the areas of payment, collections and investments. He said banks will continue to roll out products to further the agenda, citing the recently-launched GhanaPay platform, as well as industry-wide acceptance of the impending eCedi as examples.

With rapid advances in quantum computing, experts suggest advanced self-service capabilities for customers, Application Programming Interfaces (API) – which allow two software systems, apps, or other services to communicate with each other and share data enabling Open Banking and interoperability, as well as cloud computing and micro services – will define the future of banking; Mr. Asante agrees.

Innovative competition

Developing said innovation, however, requires keen strategic partnerships, FBN Bank’s MD/CEO further stated. This, he added, must be geared toward minimising cost by allowing valuable input from sources with varying perspectives, skillsets and experience.

“We are beginning to see that areas where individual banks have absolute, or at least, competitive advantage is shrinking rapidly; as such, to deliver true value, we must collaborate in ways that allow us to extend to be creative by extending our services beyond the box, by adding value in addressing broader client needs through solutions. These solutions would be difficult to provide alone,” he explained.

He expects the collaboration between entities to be fluid to keep in step with rapid developments across the landscape.

Training and confidence

The banker was quick to add that the rapid pace of innovation must not only be met by extensive capital investment in infrastructure, but also the training of personnel; warning that failure to do so would define the winners and losers of the digital evolution.

“The knowledge gap expands faster because things are changing quickly, so banks will have to spend a lot in that regard. It is even estimated that globally, over the next decade, many professionals would be behind the curve of what is needed for the jobs of the future.”

With increased innovation, he said, comes heightened concerns about customer data integrity and security. Mr. Asante called for a deepening of efforts aimed at protecting the digital sphere, saying a breach would serve to alienate the financially excluded and reverse gains the industry has made in the recent past.

This comes as a report by the Bank of Ghana on fraud in the sector showed a 78.57 percent rise in cyber/email-related incidents to 50 cases in 2021, as compared to 28 cases in 2020.

In all, staff of banks and other Specialised Deposit-Taking Institutions were responsible for 53.46 percent of total fraud cases in the year under review. However, the total number of attempted fraud cases in the banking industry reduced by 12.09 percent over the period.


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