Some time ago, financial technology (Fintech) was thought to be the final onslaught on traditional financial institutions by overly smart young people whose only calling in life was to churn out innovations. Many analysts looked through their crystal balls and saw fintechs taking over financial services and buying up banks to re-invent them.
In many respects, start-ups in fintech have actually given banks a run for their money. Some days ago a UK-based fintech startup called Tandem reportedly acquired Harrods Bank ‘100 percent’.
Back home, Paga, a mobile payment service in Nigeria claimed it processed 9.5 million transactions worth N156 billion. Remita also confirmed to BusinessDay that it has processed over N1 trillion in transactions within a short time. Only recently, Flutterwave San Francisco-based but Nigerian-manned fintech firm secured over USD40 million from US based investors.
While speaking at the launch of the Remita mobile app, John Obaro, MD of SystemSpecs, the company powering the app, alluded to the abundance of talents in the fintech as major reason to the innovations being witnessed in the space.
Although traditional banks are going out of their comfort zones to collaborate with many fintechs they are also not slacking in the space in terms of recruiting tech talents.
Many of them are harnessing talents and doing everything they can, including offering mouth-watering incentives, to keep these people within their organisations.
“You know most of the start-ups have issues with raising funds, hence when banks approach them to work for them, they usually will offer various incentives that eventually lures these young entrepreneurs to go work for banks.
“Another method of recruitment is through sponsoring hackathons where many people with loads of creative ideas come to test out the viability of their products. If a bank finds out that a product might pose competition in the future, they quickly move in to try to recruit the individual with the idea. Sometimes when the person will not bulge they resort to collaboration that ensures that maintain some level of control over the product,” a source told BusinessDay.
Recently, I visited ALAT by Wema office at Victoria Island Lagos. Some renovation work was being done on the first two floors of the building; however the top floor was populated by tens of young people between the ages of 22 to 35. The whole place was brimming with young energy and fresh talents. Dele Adeyinka, Chief Digital Officer for Wema told BusinessDay that the entire process of creating the app ALAT for Wema was carried out by majority of the people in the building.
Providus Bank, the newest commercial bank in Nigeria that offers customised business solutions and advanced products, has an entire building full of talented people dedicated to its digital services.
Guarantee Trust Bank, a bank which has already seen a future where customers are able to make 90 percent of their transactions using their mobile devices and are one of the early investors in fintech, also plough loads of financial resources in grooming talent. The bank sponsors individuals including willing staff to a digital marketing institute that helps them learn how to start build and grow a business using digital strategies.
Some banks are also recruiting fintech talents with creative ideas and providing them with the financial resources to make their dreams a reality. In this case, the employee is expected to be fully committed to the bank. An entrepreneur in the fintech space who will not be named told of how some Nigerian banks were beginning to poach tech savvy millennial from tech hubs.
The results are the many mobile applications that most of the banks are releasing.