THE IMPACT OF ELECTRONIC BANKING IN NIGERIA BANKING SYSTEM
(CRITICAL APPRAISAL OF UNITY BANK PLC)
1.1. Background of the Study
The new millennium brought with it new possibilities in terms of information access and availability simultaneously, introducing new challenges in protecting sensitive information from some eyes while making it available to others. Today’s business environment is extremely dynamic and experience rapid changes as a result of technological improvement, increased awareness and demands Banks to serve their customers electronically. Banks have traditionally been in the forefront of harnessing technology to improve their products and services.
The Banking industry of the 21st century operates in a complex and competitive environment characterized by these changing conditions and highly unpredictable economic climate. Information and Communication Technology (ICT) is at the centre of this global change curve of Electronic Banking System in Nigeria today. (Stevens 2002). Assert that they have over the time, been using electronic and telecommunication networks for delivering a wide range of value added products and services, managers in Banking industry in Nigeria cannot ignore Information Systems because they play a critical impact in current Banking system, they point out that the entire cash flow of most fortune Banks are linked to Information System.
The application of information and communication technology concepts, techniques, policies and implementation strategies to banking services has become a subject of fundamental importance and concerns to all Banks and indeed a prerequisite for local and global competitiveness Banking.
The advancement in Technology has played an important role in improving service delivery standards in the Banking industry. In its simplest form, Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) and deposit machines now allow consumers carry out banking transactions beyond banking hours.
With online banking, individuals can check their account balances and make payments without having to go to the bank hall. This is gradually creating a cashless society where consumers no longer have to pay for all their purchases with hard cash. For example: bank customers can pay for airline tickets and subscribe 1to initial public offerings by transferring the money directly from their accounts, or pay for various gods and services by electronic transfers of credit to the sellers account. As most people now own mobile phones, banks have also introduced mobile banking to cater for customers who are always on the move. Mobile banking allows individuals to check their account balances and make fund transfers using their mobile phones. This was popularized by First Atlantic Bank (now First Inland Bank) through its “Flash me cash” product Customers can also recharge their mobile phones via SMS. E-Banking has made banking transactions easier around the World and it is fast gaining acceptance in Nigeria.
The delivery channels today in Nigeria electronic Banking are quite numerous has it is mentioned here Automatic Teller Machine (ATM), Point of Sales (POS), Telephone Banking, Smart Cards, Internet Banking etc Personal computers in the Banking industry was first introduced into Nigeria by Society Generale Bank as the popular PC easy access to the internet and World Wide Web (www) and internet is increasingly used by Bank’s as a channel of delivering the products and services to the numerous customers. Virtually almost all Banks in Nigeria have a web presence; this form of Banking is referred to as Internet Banking which is generally part of Electronic Banking. The delivery of products by banks on public domain is an indication of advertisement which is known has E-Commerce. Electronic commerce on the other hand is a general term for any type of business or commercial transaction it involves the transfer of information across the internet. E-Commerce involves individuals and business organization exchanging business information and instructions over electronic media using computers, telephones and other communication equipments. This covers a range of different types of business from consumers to retails products. However, Electronic banking as it is; is a product of E-Commerce in the field of banking and financial services. It’s offers different online services like balance enquiry, request for cheque
books, recording stop payment instructions, balance transfer instructions, account opening and other form of traditional banking services. The Internet allows businesses to use information more effectively, by allowing customers, suppliers, employees, and partners to get access to the business information they need, when they need it. These Internet- enabled services all translate to reduced cost: there are less overhead, greater economies of scale, and increased efficiency. E-Banking’ greatest promise is timelier, more valuable information accessible to more people, at reduced cost of information access. With the changes in business operations as a result of the Internet era, security concerns move from computer labs to the front page of newspapers. The promise of E-Banking is offset by the security challenges associated with the disintermediation of data access. One security challenge results from “cutting out the middleman,” that too often cuts out the information security the middleman provides. Another is the expansion of the user community from a small group of known, vetted users accessing data from the intranet, to thousands of users accessing data from the Internet. Application service providers (ASP) and exchanges offer especially stringent — and sometimes contradictory — requirements of per user and per customer security, while allowing secure data sharing among communities of interest. E- Banking depends on providing customers, partners, and employees with access to information, in a way that is controlled and secure. Technology must provide security to meet the challenges encountered by E-Banking. Virtually all software and hardware vendors claim to build secure products, but