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FirstBank Fintech Summit: Experts make case for open banking services

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Consensus of financial experts has tilted in favour of the proposed Open Banking services in Nigeria, as they expressed optimism that that open banking will activate economic prosperity and financial inclusion to millions of Nigerians if properly regulated.

The experts spoke at an online summit, the FirstBank Fintech Summit with the theme Open Banking & its Derivative Opportunities for the Financial Ecosystem.

Open banking is a banking practice that provides third-party financial service providers open access to consumer banking, transaction, and other financial data from banks and non-bank financial institutions through the use of application programming interfaces (APIs).

Guest Speaker, Professor Ndubuisi Ekekwe, noted that “Open Banking is a vista to advance the financial services sector, and accelerate innovation and improve service delivery for citizens, unbounded and unconstrained by disparate ecosystems.”
According to him, “Financial APIs will change economies, but they can only be super-potent if powered within a unified regime which open banking offers. Across all domains, “open” offers abundance, and open banking has a promise to redesign industrial architectures and unleash a new dawn for the wealth in nations.”

He explained that “As we moved from voice telephony to the mobile internet age, we upgraded that “intra-bank” to “inter-bank”, through NIBBS, offering a unified quasi-banking ordinance. With Open Banking, this evolution goes beyond banks to now include insurance, mortgage, etc to drive the new age of application utility era which I expect to be massive.”

A financial expert and Director at PriceWaterHouseCooper, Mr. Ankit Sharma opined that for Nigerian banks to successfully engage the open banking operations, they must identify their areas of strength and ensure product and customer relationships focus top their agenda. .

According to Sharma, “banks must know which model will best work for them. Banks should know the kind of financial services and solutions they offer see how it works”

On what banks should do to get ready for the open banking operations, Sharma said they must work on technology, strengthen and government regulatory mechanisms and also sensitise customers on the benefits of open banking.

Representative of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) at the summit, Mr Ope Adeoye said “the framework now is to get everyone talking as to how we intend to eventually have no open banking regime” affirming that the apex bank will support organisations in developing talents for the operations of the financial ecosystem.

Meanwhile, managing director of first bank, Dr Adesola Kazeem Adeduntan said the summit is organized by the bank to create a global platform for conversation on innovations and how it can drive financial services and development.

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