Taking banking to the grassroots is the dream of most financial institutions but the cost and technology to achieve the feat remains a huge challenge.
Hence, when Lagos Business School (LBS) and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation partnered on how best to provide financial services to the poor through multiple channels and technology, the result of their findings surprised many.
LBS and Enterprise Development Centre (EDC) Director Prof Olayinka David-West, an information system expert, said she is interested in roles that technology plays in business and society. That prompted her to find out how technology could be deployed to enhance financial services and banking.
David-West talked about the consumer of financial services and what determines their actions and demand for those services. The larger research study also looked at sustainable business model for digital financial services’providers in the country.
“And what we are trying do there is looking at the consumers and suppliers and asking ourselves: Are they producing the right products and services for the consumers? Because one thing we want is to have 80 per cent target on financial inclusion by 2020. However, we are lagging behind in achieving those goals. So, in that first part of the project, we decided to do an indepth consumer analysis to profile who the consumers are for digital financial services and mobile money.
“What are the socio-economic and demographic characteristics and their digital capabilities, and language, their financial services needs and constraints? Because we believe that better knowledge of the customer and prospective customer will aid product development and the matching of digital financial services to consumer needs and services,” she said.
According to her, the purpose of the research was to unravel who the customer is. “We, therefore, took data from all the financial inclusion data that have been done previously. We looked at researches by Enhancing Financial Innovation & Access (EFInA) and the World Bank Global Index study that we ran in 2011 and 2013. So, taking all those data we began to ask the same questions on what the data say about the Nigerian consumer,” she explained.
The researchers, she said, also looked at locations, geopolitical zones, regions, types of households, economic status, gender, marital status, education, adding that knowing who the people are is as important as understanding their financial services needs.
Culled from The Nation Online. Click here to read more: http://thenationonlineng.net/banking-enhancing-financial-inclusion-technology/