The world of fintech is expanding in Africa. Nigeria is one of the places it is heating up. Flutterwave, Paystacks and others are competing ferociously. Most of the banks seem not worried. After all, the free cash with endless charges on customer accounts is still rolling.
Nigerian banks fail to think on concurrently protecting today while having a hand in the future. They have not learnt anything from Kenya which has seen its banking sector reshaped by M-Pesa. No one expects the banks to cease to being banks. We just expect them to remain to be banks but also have plans to connect into the future.
What NBC Universal did with Snap is a case on how a firm can keep doing what it is currently doing while planning to be relevant in the future, just in case. From Fortune newsletter:
In fact, an otherwise heads-up and thorough account in The Wall Street Journal Saturday of how Burke won the right for NBCU to invest $500 million in Snap’s IPO …NBCU is in a good position to integrate its varied content on Snap’s growing media platform. For Snap’s part, it got the media and entertainment conglomerate, a unit of Comcast, to invest at the IPO price of $17 a share and not at some discounted price justified by the size of its investment.
…These are wise words that speak to a prudent balance between embracing the future without strangling the past. It also helps if your existing businesses throw off enough cash to have a spare $500 million lying around.
Now you may begin to be asking when will a Nigerian bank invest in a big fintech. Or better, when will then gather together, as most banks did in U.S. when they pulled together to challenge Venmo (owned by Paypal) which is eating their into revenues. Venmo is a free digital wallet that lets you make and share payments with friends.
Fintech is a threat to Nigerian banks. The banks must continue to be banks. However, we do hope they could also do what NBCU did by investing in the future. They do not have to acquire; they can simply build from scratch as the fintech market does not have winners yet. They have the resources and infrastructure to win!