The Country Manager for OPay in NigeriaIniabasi Akpan has said traditional banks should be worried about the fintechs and telecommunications companies granted approval by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to operate in the financial market. 

Akpan said the traditional banks, which are not innovative in their operations in the financial market, would not stand a chance against the likes of OPay and other Payment Service Banks (PSBs) being employed by the CBN to drive financial inclusion in Nigeria. 

Since the CBN began to seek alternative channels to serve the underbanked population and drive financial inclusion in the country to 80% next year, the spotlight has been on how valuable banks will be to Nigerians years from now. 

More financial and payment services that are not bank-led have continued to make their way into the financial market. The latest driver of the tech onslaught against the traditional banks is OPay which is an interconnected system harbouring payment for local canteens, motorcycle (okada), bus drivers and other bills payment, as well as enabling transfer and receiving of funds. 

OPay is the parent company of ORideOBus and OFood. 

Akpan, during an interview with Nairametrics, said banks that don’t seek collaborative ways and are not innovative in their approach will have challenges as the financial market continues to expand.

“Banks that are not innovative should worry. It’s not just about OPay. The fact is that it’s coming. 

 “The traditional banks that don’t find a collaborative way and are not innovative are going to have serious challenges in the market. 

 “It’s not just us. The PSBs (payment service banks) are coming. So telcos who are going to hit the market too. So any traditional bank who are thinking it’s going to be business as usual, they have something coming.”

Akpan is not alone: In August 2019, the United State’s rating agency, Moody’s reported that commercial banks might soon lose their services to the growing popularity of Fintechs firms. 

Moody’s said the operation of banks would be affected by Fintechs and Mobile Network Providers due to their lack of infrastructure to rival new web payment solutions. 

To back up these projections, some banks are beginning to wind up their brick and mortar operation to respond to the advancement in technology as the need to visit banks begin to dwindle among customers affecting retail banking. 

MTN Nigeria has already begun its mobile money service with the launch of MoMo. Airtel has also begun its own mobile money service in other African countries and is reportedly considering establishing the same service in Nigeria.