Digital technology and blockchain altering conventional banking models – Emefiele

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has stated that continuous technological innovations in the world, around artificial intelligence, robotics and blockchain technology have disrupted and have the potential to further disrupt the financial service sector.

According to the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr Godwin Emefiele, at the 19th edition of the National Seminar on Banking and Allied Matters for Judges, organized by the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN), fast automation and technological advancement has changed the way the country learns, communicates, and delivers services.

Mr Emefiele stated that the effect of technological innovations was conspicuously evident in the financial services system as digital finance and financial technology (Fintech) had seen quick adoption, altering normal banking models and creating new opportunities for structuring and distributing financial services.

Technological progress spurred by the widespread availability of ICT infrastructure is a key driving factor which has opened up a whole new vista in the provisions of unique access points for financial services whilst driving down the cost of delivering the services.

“Application Programming Interfaces (APIs), and mobile devices, which have become a key aspect of consumers’ daily lives globally with their greater functionality like cloud computing, have offered advantages such as economies of scale, flexibility, operational efficiencies and cost-effectiveness.

“Digitisation has also spurred consumers’ increased demand for improved and more convenient experiences across the services that they use and demographic factors such as the growing financial influence of younger generation aptly referred to as digital natives are driving demand.

“Digital finance can deliver enormous benefits, not just for the payments system but also for the financial wellbeing of the citizenry and the economy at large. It improves competition, increases efficiency and revolutionises financial services,” Godwin Emefiele.

Though CBN Governor praised the impact of technology in the financial service sector, he expressed concerns about the risks involved. He disclosed that the risk of cyber threat was noteworthy, given the heavy dependence of market players on technological infrastructure and digital technology. He noted that the impact of cyber-attacks is not limited to financial losses, but also an impairment of the trust of the citizenry in the financial system.

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