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Financial inclusion: Banks, fintechs, regulators urged to collaborate

The Chief Executive Officer of Financial Institution Training Centre, Mrs Chizor Malize, has said commercial banks, fintechs, and financial regulators need to collaborate in order to drive financial inclusion.

According to her, banks and fintechs need to learn from their previous mistakes in driving financial inclusion in the nation.

She made this known in Lagos during the keynote presentation at the third edition of the Industry Summit/Awards-themed, ‘Financial inclusion, digital payment and the challenges of banking the unbanked.’

Malize said, “The Central Bank of Nigeria has led in the forefront of this drive. But to drastically reduced those segments of the unbanked and underserved, there is a need for synergy and collaboration between the deposit banks, fintech, and financial regulators.

“Low cost of transactions and greater expansion in reach and a reduction in the use of cash for business dealings will happen when synergy is achieved.”

According to her, another hurdle towards bridging the financial inclusion gap is collateral.

She said, “Most low-income earners cannot afford collateral. Therefore, they opt not to go to the deposit money bank. Instead, they prefer borrowing money from loan sharks who give them very high interest.

“According to Proshare Nigeria, there are over 200 fintech companies currently operating in Nigeria. This translates into about $560m in investments between 2019 and 2021.”

She pointed out that the rise of fintech could be attributed to the increase in penetration of smartphone devices and the increase in the use of digital channels and agents to reach the underserved and unbanked in rural areas.

In his welcome address, the convener of the event and Editor-in-Chief of the Industry Newspapers, Goddie Ofose said, “We are no expert on this subject matter, which is why we have gathered the best of the best in the industry to do justice to this matter, and we sincerely hope that, in the end, justice would be done.

“The missing puzzle would be found, issues around the growing unbanked population would be sorted.”

Meanwhile, the second leg of the event, which was the awards night, saw a long list of individuals and corporate organisations rewarded under different categories for their contributions to the growth of Nigeria’s economic space.

The award recipients include the Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Udom Emmanuel, who emerged as the Best Governor of the Year 2021 (Infrastructure), and First Bank of Nigeria Limited (Advertiser of The Year).

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