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Open Vector CEO at Lagos Fintech Week speaks on opportunities for Startups

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Startups in the Financial Technology (FinTech) space will redefine service offering experiences to customers, says the Chief Executive Officer of Open Vector Limited, Carlos Figueredo.

Figueredo who delivered a paper at the opening of Lagos Fintech Week on Tuesday at Oriental Hotel, said in an interview with TechEconomy.ng that open banking system offers startups and others in the ecosystem a level playing fields to grow the economy, especially through financial inclusion.

Open Vector was established in 2017 with the purpose of leveraging the extensive knowledge achieved in the UK with the creation, implementation and go live of the first in country open banking strategy worldwide.

It is Open Vector’s remit to use this experience to become the “center of expertise for Open API”.

In his words, Figueredo said, “For me, the startups will define the new dynamics in banking and that is what Open Banking brings to the table. It offers all a level playing field which is an opportunity that startups never experienced before now. Open Banking means that through new collaborations and innovations young fintechs can now create solutions and services and can be able to sell them to large institutions.

“So, I encourage fintechs in Nigeria to tap into this space. I have seen amazing talents here in the country.

Discussing on how fintechs can bridge the financial inclusion, especially among the rural dwellers, he said, “I think the fintechs and financial institutions have not yet understood the commercial opportunity of reaching out to the villages – people that are outside the cities. Even the Deputy Governor of the CBN who spoke earlier expressed the same thing. I think there are huge opportunities among those people; it is just that the fintechs and banks have not been able to create those services and products that will incentive those people to want to consume those products. I think that is where the opportunity is.

Speaking on security concerns with regards Open Banking system, the Open Vector’s CEO noted that, “The operators in the open banking ecosystem are working hard to ensure hitch-free operations. Anything financially based would always attract the attention of the cyber attackers. But the greatest risk revolves around lack of education.

“If you are completely educated on how to do what you do, things are going to be a lot easier and protected. To give you an example, in the way we use our passwords for banking, if you are not educated on how to do it, you put yourself in risk, because you share your information. But if you can protect your password, it is also applicable to the open banking system, he added.

On regulations that need to be in place to drive the ecosystem, he suggested that regulations that are solid enough to protect the consumer must not be neglected.

He further said that the consumer deserves the right to make choices while using third-party or payment providers’ platforms.

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On what the consumer stands to gain from open banking, Figueredo, said “Everything. This is an amazing opportunity for the consumer to make choices. Before now, products were designed (without sounding negative) to somehow protect the banks and not really the consumer but in today’s world, the banks will have to compete with ‘banks of all sizes’; the digital banks, small banks, big banks, etc. So, new services and products will grant consumers easier access to services and products through their devices.

Lagos Fintech Week (LFW) which continues today, is an invigorating week of distinct FinTech events that delivers exciting discussions, stimulating demos and insightful debates.

The Week is for startups, technology companies, investors, financial institutions, research institutes and innovation professionals.

Other panelists include: Jameel Taiwo, MD/CEO Credit Registry; Faith Adesemowo, CEO, Social Lender; Tunde Popoola, MD/CEO, CRC Credit Bureau; Damilola Salawu, Partner, Olaniun Ajayi. The session will also be moderated by Onajite Regha, CEO, EPPAN.

L-r: Pre – Sales Consultant Middle-East/Africa, BPC Technologies, Emmanuel Obinne; CEO, eMaginations Limited, Sola Fanawopo; Chairman, Fintech summit, Dr. Yele Okeremi and Chief Executive Officer of Open Vector Limited, Carlos Figueredo, during the opening day of Lagos Fintech Week..on Tuesday.

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