- Banking, FinTech Professionals Unveil Open Banking Nigeria Initiative
A group of banking and financial technology experts has unveiled the Open Banking Nigeria initiative to improve banking experience in the country.
A trustee of the group, Adedeji Olowe, during the unveiling in Lagos, linked the early arrival of open banking initiatives in the country to the emergence of Automated Teller Machines when commercial banks came together to adopt a single operational standard.
He recalled that banks went as far as contributing money to create a shared platform in Interswitch.
“Consequently, for the first time, customers could visit any bank’s ATM and withdraw cash, transfer money and buy airtime, among other transactions they could do, without thinking if the terminal belonged to their bank or not,” Olowe said.
“Banks have subsequently worked together to standardise on Point of Sale terminals, NUBAN accounts, Bank Verification Number, watch-list, etc,” he added.
The Open Banking Nigeria initiative is being driven by a group of banking and FinTech experts who are committed to the expansion of innovation within the Nigerian financial space.
The initiative is being driven under the umbrella of Open Technology Foundation, a not-for-profit, group in partnership with eMaginations, Flutterwave, Teamapt, 2i Lab, Kinexus, Wallet and Paystack.
The initiative was formally launched in Lagos last week.
During his keynote presentation, the Management Consultant, Blue Advisory, Opeyemi Ndukwe, described the nature of the current challenges and opportunities in the financial industry and how collaboration and partnership could take the sector to the next level.
Open Technology Foundation described Open Banking Nigeria as an initiative designed to enhance and improve banking experience.
According to the OTF, the concept of open banking has to do with a situation when individuals can provide banks and other online service providers with secure access to their account(s) so that they can transact and manage their finances in ways best suited to them.
The group noted that countries such as Australia, Hong Kong, United Kingdom and Nigeria were at various stages of review, design and implementation of Open Banking Nigeria.
It said Open Banking Nigeria API standard was not a product but a set of standards developed collaboratively between banks and FinTechs to guide how they open up their API gateways to FinTechs and customers.
OTF said, “The push for open banking has been gathering steam in Nigeria since June 2017 when the Open Banking Nigeria initiative was founded. Unlike the other financial jurisdictions where open banking is backed by regulation or law, the Nigerian initiative is driven by advocacy as there is currently no regulatory demand on banks to upgrade. Nevertheless, the Nigerian banking customers, who are part of the global digital phenomenon, are asking tough questions from their banks as to why they cannot have the same benefits as customers in other countries.”
It added, “Nigerian banks have been very receptive of the open banking concept.”