NIGERIA’S financial services industry would require critical tools like collaboration, agriculture and technological innovation in order to evolve within the ‘glocal’ context, Farouk Gumel, Chairman, Board of Directors, Union Bank of Nigeria has said.
Gumel gave the recommendations as he delivered the keynote address Thursday for the 15th Annual Banking and Finance Conference year’s conference tagged “Repositioning the Financial Services Industry for an Evolving Global Context” in Abuja.
Gumel praised the strength, ingenuity and resilience of the financial services sector which according to him has ‘’transformed Nigeria’s inefficient and analogue financial services sector into a world-class system that has made it exceptionally easy for our local elites to bank globally and for global elites to bank in the country.”
He, however, pointed out the need to keep sight of the local element, even as industry operators strive to retain their position as leaders on a world stage.
“When we remember where we come from locally, we will be better equipped for where we want to be globally,” he stated.
He noted that this can be achieved by adapting products and services to meet the needs of customers – wherever they may be.
Gumel added that to bring financial services to the unbanked, what is needed is re- branching which accommodates the rural populace.
He also emphasized how the rapidly expanding agricultural sector in Nigeria has the potential to grow exponentially and contribute not just to the advancement of the Nigerian economy, but also to the welfare of the local farmers who form a large percentage of the unbanked.
He highlighted how Union Bank in its 105-year history continues to support the Nigerian farmer and pointed out that the recent integration with the parent TGI group has further opened up more opportunities for the bank to leverage international partnerships to service the rural economy.
“At Union Bank, we are pursuing a range of strategic partnerships to build on the best of what we do here in Nigeria with the skills and resources abroad that can help us and our partners to grow.
“We do not seek to reinvent the wheel, we are looking to build on the best of what we have and provide support for a constituency that has the capacity to do so much more,” he stressed.
“We will do what we do best locally and then work with trusted international partners to deliver in the ECOWAS region, across Africa and around the world.”
In his closing remarks, Gumel praised the CIBN President Kenneth Opara FCIB and the entire organizing committee for the conference’s auspicious opening and wished the participants constructive and beneficial deliberations.