Fidelity Bank Boss Harps on Technology Innovations

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Nume Ekeghe

The Managing Director, Fidelity Bank, Mr. Nnamdi Okonkwo, has advised Chief Audit Executives (CAE) to adopt technology innovations in tackling imminent risk and opportunities that come with technology advancement in banking.

He said this at the 42nd Quarterly Meeting of the association of Chief Audit Executives (ACAEBIN) where banks’ CAE, representatives from fintech companies and representatives from the Central Bank of Nigeria gathered to discuss ‘Internal Audit and The New Digital Frontier.’

Okonkwo was represented by the Deputy Managing Director, Fidelity Bank Mr. Mohammed Balarabe.

He said: “By the way the theme has been coined, it is very clear that you guys in the control community have to get prepared for the challenges that would come about because of the digital age. So there is a need for us to really be prepared to embrace it but most importantly walk through it.

“What you find is that advancement in technology has enabled the automation of several processes and procedures in the banking industry. And what that means is that some services that used to appear very complex, and difficult for the public to access have now become so simplified. All you need to do now is just touch a button on your computer, laptop, or phone and the service is available to you. That is a very good development, but it comes with its own challenges and I  think sessions like this should take time to look at what those challenges are, and how can we overcome them.

“In Fidelity Bank, today,  80 per cent of our transactions happen on the digital platforms. And the aspiration is that within the next two years, we should have 90 of all our transactions outside the banking hall on the digital platforms. And that obviously poses challenges for all of us, especially we in the community of auditors.”

He further added:  “What you find also is that these automations come with a lot of challenges. Challenges in the sense that it opens up paths to fraudsters and people of bad characters to attack institutions and customers alike. And that you would naturally lead us to say, we would clamp down on this. 

“I don’t think that is the approach. I think; yes to the extent that the digital platforms don’t have manual interventions or people actually guarding the system. Yes, it has increased the potential of business risk of running banks but we should also look at it from a perspective that we might use technology to enhance the controls that we have in our systems.”