Aside the challenge of capital for fintechs, insufficient human resource remains a major concern for operators in Nigeria’s financial industry, experts have said.
Experts expressed worry over the rising deficit of software developers and subsequently called for more employable graduates.
With the survival of any financial firm based on their level of automation and technology adoption, while some fintechs have resorted to employing human resource outside the country, experts noted that it does not still provide the option. According to them, this is due to the cost of onboarding them, lack of technical competence and their inability to be streetwise.
They added that financial business requires more developers, intelligent thinkers, attention to details, and streetwiseness to match the global standard.
Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Fast Credit, Emeka IIoelunachi, said there can’t be financial business without innovation because of the changing customers’ behaviour, hence, the need for proactive software developers.
He said this during a chat with The Guardian at the introduction of Clirec, account reconciliation software, from Precise Financial Systems (PFS) in conjunction with Fast Credit.
IIoelunachi said: “Innovation is required for the 21st century consumers. They are best referred to as ‘transumers’ because they transact on the move. Software is very expensive. I think the major challenge for fintechs is getting quality, affordable and availability software.
“Although, there are emerging developers, one still cannot validate the quality of their solutions. There are lots of graduates but no sufficient employable people.”
IIoelunachi added that account reconciliation was a challenge for firms, including Fast Credit before the adoption of CLIREC.
He said financial firms need a good reconciliation system for appropriate record keeping. “You sometimes have to start go through records manually. The process is so cumbersome, labour intensive and time consuming. Hence, we decided to find an automated solution. Clirec became the best solution to our reconciliation problem. Since the adoption, our reconciliation has been efficient, with less human efforts. We have also decided to go beyond the reconciliation software and we are interested in partnering with PFS. They are the best institution out there that is servicing digital market,” Emeka said.
He added that Fast Credit is a finance house focused on the public sector. “It is interesting to know that we are the highest public service lender to the Nigerian Police Force (NPF) and other government firms in Lagos, and some western states. 80 per cent of our portfolio is in the public sector, and we’ve done very well in it.
We have decided to also expand and start lending to the private sector as well. We lend to businesses, but we are very careful as it is a very volatile market,” he added.
Urging the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to be proactive in its operation, he called for a change of administration to drive the desired growth.
“I have never seen an economy where the regulated is ahead of the regulator. This problem is an offshoot of our national leadership. The regulatory directors got to the height of their practice using ledger with little or no form of technology. Now the business scene is not the same and there comes a conflict of value.
“The CBN staff understands core banking, but they need to know the concept of fintech. They can be on the board of directors but get young people to drive the operations. Banking traditionally was made to look like one rocket science so people associate banking with the elite,” he said.
Emeka added that telcos have caused a disruption by building a product around human behaviour and lifestyle. “To achieve a faster growth in the financial industry, I expect the CBN to connect telcos, like Impesa,” he said.
He said banks must evolve, starting from the quality of their service. “Fintechs are taking over with efficient tailor-made products. Their agility and capacity is better, while banks’ bureaucratic processes and people are the problem. It is a generational move and they need to be proactive instead of reactive.
“Why should banks establish fintechs? I don’t think it is their business. Why must they do everything? Why can’t they collaborate and agree on how to exchange values and the work. I expect them to optimise. Even in all spheres of life, the synergy from collaborating is germane,” he said.
The Deputy Managing Director, Precise Financial Systems (PFS), Philip Ayeni, said: “Fast Credit, as a leading microfinance institution is already actualising its vision of creating value that deeply impacts the Nigeria financial ecosystem. And it will continue to achieve this by relying on CLIREC, a newly implemented auto-reconciliation solution.
“PFS will continue to support the financial sector with world class products like CLIREC to ensure the industry attains the global standard. As an indigenous firm, our solutions are running thousands of computers and serving numerous clients in Nigeria and 30 countries in Africa.
“Working with Fast Credit has been a great experience. Fast Credit is a trailblazer in the deployment of technology that suits its target market. I am not surprised considering the company’s market positioning to be one of the leading Fintech firm in the economy”.
Aside Clirec, PFS’ other cutting edge environmentally friendly solutions include an integrated account reconciliation solution; cheque and e-payment processing, security and remittance solution; end-to-end outward and inward cheque clearing solutions.