Microsoft committed to developing bespoke products for financial institutions – Okpaka

 Microsost has reiterated its com­mitment to develop bespoke solutions to help financial insti­tutions better interact with their customers and help them grow. “At Microsoft, our mission is to help financial institutions grow responsibly and deepen their customer relationships by delivering differentiated customer experiences, modernising pay­ments and core systems, managing risk and improving risk modelling, combatting financial crime, and empowering employees,” the Microsoft Azure Business Lead, Africa Regional Cluster, Chikwu­ma Okpaka, said this during his keynote address during the Con­nected Banking Summit in Accra on Tuesday.

He said the digital revolution was changing how banking was done, saying every bank was eager to evolve, using secure and compliant technology to meet the changing customer expectations, complex regulations, and com­bat cyber threats, and inspired a productive workforce.

Mr Okpaka said transforming the financial services landscape in Africa was a key focus to drive economic prosperity conti­nent-wide, indicating that Micro­soft and its partner ecosystem were working to help organisations to streamline core systems, reduce costs and risk, while delighting customers and employees alike to spur sustainable growth.

“Microsoft supports financial inclusion by providing the various platforms required to make it easier to attract, capture and retain customers. From internet banking solutions to the necessary back-end solutions that provide productivity tools for employees, Microsoft pro­vides a seamless engagement with customers,” explains Okpaka.

With fraud on the rise globally, he said banks were looking for new approaches to fraud protection.

He said the financial industry was experiencing a level of regu­latory scrutiny that was unprece­dented in its intensity, and financial institutions that best manage their regulatory and compliance data would be on a path to stronger risk management and improved opera­tional efficiency.

“At Microsoft we are focused on trust, and we adhere to the strictest security and privacy standards in the industry to place banks in control over security, encryption, and governance,” Mr Okpaka added.

He said the COVID-19 pan­demic was a catalyst for change and shifting business priorities, and accelerated existing trends towards digitalisation.

Mr Okpaka said the rise in adoption of digital banking products during the pandemic had driven banks to expedite their digital transformation agendas as more customers leverage digital engagement channels.

“Digital-forward banks are leading the way when it comes to investing in digital experiences for high-value offerings such as lend­ing. The pandemic has also spurred the need for financial institutions to adapt to changing work patterns, embracing digital tools for their employees’ communication and

 collaboration,” he said.

Mr Okpaka said mindful of the multiple challenges faced by the Financial Services Industry, Mic­rosoft had developed Microsoft Cloud for Financial Services, trust­ed cloud to accelerate innovation for sustainable growth.

The solution, he said provid­ed capabilities to manage data to deliver differentiated experiences, empower employees and combat financial crime while facilitating security, compliance and interop­erability.

“Financial services organisa­tions can unlock new value creation through embedding digital collab­oration into workflows, surfacing meaningful data, and tailoring customer service all with trusted capabilities that facilitate action­able insights, drive efficiency and enhance customer and employee experience,” he added

A report by McKinsey notes that African fintech is emerging as a hotbed for investment, with average deal sizes growing and the proportion of fintech funding in Africa increasing over the past year, bringing jobs and growth to African economies. Ghana and francophone West Africa are ex­pected to show the fastest growth in financial services, at 15 per cent and 13 per cent per annum respec­tively, until 2025.


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