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60 million Nigerians still without bank accounts — Amangbo  



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Outgoing Group Managing Director and CEO of Zenith Bank, Peter Amangbo, says the Nigeria’s banking sector offers great potentials to investors as about 60 million Nigerians are still without a bank account.

Amangbo, who championed Zenith Bank’s digital expansion, and also introduced zero-balance accounts to bring more Nigerians into the formal financial services sector disclosed this recently in an interview.

According to him, it is an opportunity that is yet to be tapped. “It is not enough to have numbers. You need numbers that have the purchasing power. We have very smart people who, given the opportunity, would do well. We need to begin to think seriously of having the right workforce for the Fourth Industrial Revolution era.”

He argued that while some sees automation of banking activities as a threat to employment of staff by banks, it is actually good for the industry because it enhances the work.

“Most banks are introducing robotics to handle all that. So automation will continue to be the heart of banking business. But the beauty is, as you automate, you still need people. Even with the advent of e-banking and automation, people are still banking in branches, and you need people to work in those branches. So automation does not necessarily result in job losses.”

He however, pointed out that Nigeria is not moving fast enough to achieving its cashless system.

“Look at the massive structure we have out there for a branch in Nigeria. Maybe 30 percent [of the space] is for physical cash. If we focus on going cashless, we won’t need those massive structures. What do you do in the branch of your bank? You may want to get advice and withdraw some cash, which you can do from an ATM anyway. There is still too much cash in the environment. And that in itself is because we are still encouraging cash, which is a disincentive to financial inclusion.

According to Amangbo, the Internet and mobile technology have transformed banking, adding that in itself has helped a lot in terms of financial inclusion because an average person today in Nigeria can access banking services on their handheld device.

Speaking about Zenith Bank, he said the bank has been growing in leaps and bounds.

“The fact that our profitability has been consistently very strong separates us from the rest. Zenith Bank has grown to become the most important, forward-thinking, innovative bank with exceptional customer service. Zenith is the bank to beat in Nigeria,” he said.