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Study says African banks not embracing ICT trends

A new international study commissioned by leading ICT solutions provider, SAP Group has uncovered various trends in banking, most notably a large disconnect between regulators’ expectations and the ability of banks to meet compliance and reporting requirements. However, many banks have plans to increase their budget for IT to invest in the necessary banking solutions to meet these changing requirements.
Addressing the media in Lagos, a senior staff of the group, Mr. Ade Oloruntoye said “The study included extensive desk research, in-depth interviews with C-level representatives from banks and regulatory authorities and a quantitative survey”.
He said the study also provided detailed insights into the technology areas considered as most important for the industry. More than six out of 10 participants (65 percent) said mobile is the most important trend for the future, followed by in-memory computing (48 percent) and cloud (47 percent).
While technology is changing every aspect of banking operations, 77 percent of participants in a recent survey say the greatest impact will be on customer satisfaction and regulatory compliance. Some regulators, however, believe banks are moving too slowly.
A senior executive from a large U.S. bank who was interviewed for the report noted that 25 percent of mobile phone users access financial services content on their phone, yielding a significant market opportunity for banks in mobile banking application development.
Mobile banking is following a similar usage curve to online banking, with China, India and the United Arab Emirates leading in adoption. In emerging markets, mobile devices provide access to financial services to previously under-banked populations.
African Market Embraces Mobile
Until recent years, income variability and heavy transaction costs prevented many people in African countries from accessing formal banking services. Additionally, start-up costs associated with establishing new banking offerings are considerable, due to infrastructure investments and the build-up of new distribution channels. Thus, financial services provided through the mobile channel have emerged as a needed solution. The study found that four key mobile banking functionalities are key in African economies:
Respondents also recognise the opportunity in Big Data and analytics in banking and placed a much greater emphasis on the overall comprehensiveness of information. The top two priorities in platform features noted included completeness of aggregation (84 percent) and the availability of real-time information (62 percent).
Throughout the study, banks expressed six key expectations for Big Data in process innovation. Big Data solutions are expected to enable banks to tailor their offerings to the needs of individual customers, improve the banks’ trading strategies, and provide better insights into market dynamics and improve market research.

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