In Nigeria, banks are at the center of gravity for anything financial services: for all you do, you need BVN (bank verification number) and only banks issue BVN. But banks struggled, initially, to find value as fintechs began their redesigns. As I noted in my video on Smiling Curve, banks were at the center where value is marginal. Fintechs had always played at the edges of the curve.
But wait, the Central Bank of Nigeria has the memo: unleash the banks to move at the speed of now. Yes, going forward, deposit monetary banks (yes, commercial banks) can operate mobile money wallet services without prior approval. This opens many opportunities for banks.
Why ask a company to apply and wait weeks for review on something competitors can do overnight? Sure, they need to be regulated since they have other people’s money. But yet, you can still allow them to dream bigger in their businesses. The best fintechs in Nigeria include some of our banks.
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