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Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Banks IT Spending Rises 15.59 percent to N60.15bn

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Nigerian banks are spending heavily on Information Technology (IT) to become more efficient amid pressure to get ahead of digital platforms and FinTech’s who have created intense competition.

IT costs have been rising steadily over the past six years, and some of the lenders deepest pockets-FirstBank Holdings, Zenith Bank, Guaranty Trust Holding Company (GTCO), United Bank for Africa (UBA), and Access Bank- are spending less than 5 percent of their yearly revenue on technology.

Data gathered by MoneyCentral shows the largest lenders in Africa’s largest economy collectively spent N60.21 billion on Information Technology-related infrastructure, software, computers and introduction of mobile apps in the first-half of 2022, and that is 15.59 percent higher than 2021’s N52.09 billion.

Of course, lenders need to expend such money on modern automated machines that helps reduce costs, and maximise efficiency and profit; however, the big elephant in the room remains rising inflation, regulatory induced costs, and currency volatility.

It must be noted that while competition from financial technology has not been a drain on the bottom line (profit) yet, the celerity of entrant into the Nigerian economy by technology start-ups laid bare the concerns of some experts that the financial sector is in for intense competition.

The Nigerian fintech ecosystem raised more than $600 million in funding between 2014 and 2019, a new report by McKinsey & Company, a management consulting firm, has shown.

The report, titled, ‘Harnessing Nigeria’s Fintech Potential’, noted that the country attracted 25 per cent at $122 million of the $491.6 million raised by African startups in 2019 alone, coming after Kenya which attracted $149 million.

Lenders are increasing adoption for electronic banking, which means they are not too laid-back as they continue to ensure that financial services reach customers in their home.

Analysts say the coronavirus pandemic forced people to carry out transactions using their mobile applications.

Guaranty Trust Holding Company (GTCO) Plc saw the value of mobile and internet banking transactions spike by 33.25 percent to N16.55 trillion in June 2022 from N12.42 trillion as at June 2021, according to data gathered from the lender’s website.

“There was increased adoption of electronic banking platforms with strong growth in both volume  and value of Mobile Banking,” said Segun Agbaje, managing director and CEO of Guaranty Trust Holding Company.

The largest lenders in Africa’s most populous nation  saw their combined fees and commission income increase by 21.08 percent to N381.20 billion in June 2022 from N3214.83 billion the previous year.

Nigerians are increasingly jettisoning cash payment for electronic transactions, which is  manifested in the growth of online shopping in the country.

Data released by the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement Systems (NIBSS) has revealed that the total value of payments made via electronic transactions from January to August 2022 has hit N238.7 trillion.

An analysis of the books of firms shows Zenith Bank spent N14.27 billion on IT related expenses, which is 37.34 percent higher than 2021’s N10.39 billion.

GTCO spent N9.69 billion on IT, which is 36.07 percent higher than 2021’s N6.85 billion.

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