That was the debate question which was asked by the organizers of the Financial Inclusion Forum at an event at Impact Hub Africa.
Financial Inclusion Forum Ghana is a group in Ghana that brings people together to discuss how to improve access to finance for citizens in Ghana.
To help spur the conversation about financial inclusion in Ghana, a debate was set up to discuss the topic: Will Banks Become Irrelevant Due To The Growth of Fintechs?
FinTech companies have been steadily growing in the world and Ghana is no exception. We have our own fintech companies which include the likes of ExpressPay and Slydepay. These companies do quite well and are making some inroads in getting users to conduct more online transactions. But can these companies like ExpressPay and Slydepay grow to the point where they make the regular banks in Ghana irrelevant?
Four panelists who had some similarity with the banks and fintechs were handpicked to debate this question. Two of the panelists were “for” the motion and the other two were “against” the motion.
The debate touched on the rise of bitcoin, block chain technology, mobile money and mobile wallets, the transaction numbers done by the banks compared to fintechs and a host of other points. A good point by the side against the motion that banks would not be made irrelevant by fintechs but if they failed to evolve with the times, they would eventually get lost behind.
Ultimately, the side who were against the motion that Fintechs would make the banks irrelevant won the debate. The deck was already stacked against the debaters who were for the motion because a pre-poll was conducted with the audience favoring “Against” the motion.
After the debate, the numbers hardly changed.
I also hold the view that fintechs WON’T make the banks irrelevant. Unless the public is willing to go all digital and replace cash transactions with digital transactions, banks still have the upper hand.
In fact, with the rate at which digital banking is going, it would be prudent for the banks to engage or absorb some of these fintech companies to help streamline their digital banking processes.
Until then, we will have to deal with our banking situation.