In the past, people would waste a considerable amount of time opening an account, lodging complaints, making withdrawals and all sorts of activities that take place in the bank. However, digitization has made it possible for everyone to perform bank transactions within the flick of a switch right in their comfort zones.
For VFD microfinance, it is able to recognize and jump on the trend to make banking easy for everyone irrespective of demography. In an interview on Business Half Hour hosted by Nairametrics, Gbenga Omolokun, Managing Director, VFD Microfinance Bank explained that the bank is built in a way that makes it easy for customers to interact with the bank.
He said, “As long as you are used to Facebook, Snapchat and social media platforms, we have built the bank so that it’s easy for you to interact with us. If you can take a selfie, put it up on Snapchat, or send a message to your friends, then essentially, you can use a digital banking platform and for those who do not use smartphones, we also have USSD which is equivalent way for people to bank in Nigeria.”
The recent level of advancement and innovations in the financial services industry cannot be overemphasized. For instance, machine learning wasn’t as widely used in Nigeria prior to now but today, most fintech have improved with technology as most now do liveness check. Omolokun explained that VFD is essentially driving the cashless economy as it now embraces digitization more than dealing in cash.
Speaking on the challenges the bank faces as a financial institution, he noted that education is one. According to him, people understand what a bank does and who a credible financial partner is, but because of the realities of the market, their understanding of risk is low and they tend to tolerate very high-risk structures which when you think about it in hindsight are not always realistic.
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“The other one is around identity because what really makes things work is when you are dealing with people you know and also if you are able to track them from time to time. There are lots of ID structures making this easier with a lot more people getting BVN and NIN.
“It’s even more interesting now that the telcos are getting PSB, this means some of the telco data – especially on the PSB side – has to conform with the level of scrutiny that financial services data has to go through. It is an issue today but we believe with a lot of development coming up, some of these things would be cleared up and would also help to get things around fraud because with fraud comes the issue of traceability and consequence.
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“Beyond that, I think the average issue facing any business such as financial services as well is the power, state of infrastructure and all,” Omolokun said.
Over the years, the bank has been able to set itself apart from others by defining banking around the customer rather than defining its own structure to ensure customers can easily carry out transactions.
“Think about opening a fixed deposit account which is something you can do automatically. Also, you can earn some of the best yields in the market and when you urgently need to self-liquidate, you can decide to do that on your own directly from the banking app.
“The most important thing for us is our focus on customers’ service, a lot of people talk about this but with us, it is something you can see and track yourself. We have invested quite a lot in engagement of customers services and across all our platform, we have those that would attend to you as though you are seeing them face to face,” he said.
With the continuous improvement in technology, cases of fraud have been on the increase. For VFD, it is able to mitigate fraudulent activities by educating customers on what they should and shouldn’t do. It is also able to build some features in the bank’s app trying to prevent users or third-party access to help reduce the chances of people snooping around. In the event that fraud occurs, however, it said it is able to put in place a number of structures in the market to help people recover from fraudulent acts.