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OPay Country Manager Iniabasi Akpan drops a strong message for the traditional banks

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Iniabasi Akpan, Country Manager OPay
The Country Manager, OPay, Mr Iniabasi Akpan, has warned that traditional banks should be worried about the changes to come with the likes of OPay, other payment services and MTN getting a financial license.

This opinion he made known to Nairametrics in an interview, sharing that the traditional banks need to have a collaborative approach and take innovative steps if they would remain as players in the financial market.

The underbanked are beginning to get attention and as such, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) deemed it necessary to give telcos and other bodies the licence to run financially. This is to expand the financial market. MTN has earned its licence and other platforms are slowly turning into some sort of banks, having account numbers and the likes.

Mr Akpan words were, “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.”

OPay currently serves as a payment platform for a number of services, including food delivery, bike-hailing, tricycle-hailing and bus-hailing. It is expected that more services would be brought on board the OPay platform.

While the exponential spread of digitalization has made change and disruption inevitable in all areas of industrialization, the banking sector is one of trust and stability. Can these payment platforms offer Nigerians that? How long will it take them to prove themselves capable, considering the weak digitalization in the country?

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Many of these upcoming players still deal with the traditional banks who are, also, slowly developing their digital platforms as an option to brick and mortar banking space.

Despite the advantages the traditional banks have, it would be wise and innovative for them to find ways to disrupt their own practices.

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