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‘Electronic payments key to financial services industry transformation ’

As part of measures to embrace opportunities available in the payments and financial space, Access Bank, Ghana, recently organised a workshop for industry stakeholders to review the lender’s payment strategy in relation to global trends and available opportunities at a workshop.

 

The workshop with the theme: “Open, Secured and Connected Payment Systems – The Future for Banks,” saw seasoned professionals from the Fintech, Telecommunications and Cards industries share their expert opinions on the burgeoning payment industry.

 

In a welcome address, the Managing Director of Access Bank, Ghana, Olumide Olatunji, said the financial services industry finds itself in a significant transformation era, which has been accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

He noted that given the key role digitisation plays in the world now, electronic payments have become central to this transformation. “Payments have become increasingly cashless and the industry’s role in fostering inclusion is a priority.

 

Statistics from a PWC Strategy Global Payment models reveal that Africa will post the second largest growth in the global cashless payment volumes, growing by 78 per cent between now and 2025 and by 64 per cent from 2025 to 2030. This means that by 2030, the number of cashless transactions will be about double to triple the current level in Africa and across regions, globally.”

 

He noted that payments are supporting the development of digital economies and are driving innovation while functioning as a backbone for economies globally.

 

“It’s critical to get ourselves better equipped to enable us tap  into all the opportunities our era presents. Our strategy to become a key player in payments across Africa and beyond is seen in our new Holdco structure with our Payco subsidiary,” Olumide said.

 

The Head of Fintech and Innovation at the Bank of Ghana, Kwame Oppong, touched on regulating the payment ecosystem in the 4th revolution. He mentioned merchant payment, compliance and leveraging offline payments and transactions as critical areas of focus for financial institutions to thrive.

 

He advised participants to pay close attention to these areas, adding that “to win in the future of payments, banks must have compel-partnerships instead of competition.” Abdul Majeed Rufai, Head of Mobile Financial Services, Commercial Department at MTN shared insights on financial inclusion transformation through payment.

 

He noted that mobile money is a key enabler of financial inclusion and explained that establishing a broad efficient agent network is crucial to financial inclusion, alluding to the saying: “The future of finance is not technology; it is the extreme obsession to be on the side of the consumer.” The Chief Marketing Officer of Dream Oval, Charles Kollo, spoke about the role of banks in a reliable financial ecosystem.

 

He presented some opportunities available to banks to remain competitive through partnering Fintechs and commended Access Bank for its Africa Fintech Foundry initiative. The Country Manager of Mastercard, Bossman Akuffo Kwapong, said he is confident that the technology or reel behind cards will keep evolving, though plastic cards may become extinct.

 

He advised participants to segment customers along clear parameters and leverage technology to build solutions to meet their needs. Closing the workshop, Pearl Nkrumah, Executive Director of Retail and Digital Banking, said she had come to one conclusion after the exposure, which is that: “As a bank, you either evolve or dissolve.

 

We need payments to solve lending problems, to scale and to maintain clients. Payments are ways customers leave footprint with the bank.”

 

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