EXPERT COMMENDS NIGERIA'S MOVE TOWARDS RETAIL BANKING
The Chairman of Lafferty Group, Mr. Michael Lafferty, has thrown his weight behind the expected take-off of properly defined retail banking in Nigeria, saying the system will make credit accessible to individuals and households.
Lafferty, who spoke from his base in London on Wednesday, said that Nigeria was on the edge of doing something that would be world's best.
In his presentation, titled, 'The Future of Retail Banking,' he said the future of retail banking was a sacred responsibility that needed an ethical underpinning and different from corporate banking, investment banking, which should be all about knowing the customer.
He said it should be all about relationship and should be seen as a profession like medicine, law and accountancy.
Lafferty, who is widely recognised as an advocate of retail banking, recalled in the presentation that barriers between retail/commercial banking and investment banking disappeared in 1990s, while investment bankers took control of the world's retail banks, now called universal banks.
According to him, 'Consumers were used and abused to serve the purposes of the investment banking divisions. Mis-selling and predatory pricing became the order of the day.'
He said that the European and American banking crisis was not a recession but largely man-made with the origin in the United States sub-prime scandal.
He said investment bankers were out of control with banks taking lazy risks, which they did not understand while politicians mesmerised and compromised.
He added that the situation brought the banking system of the US and Europe to their knees only to be saved through government intervention, leading to vast tax increases, exploding unemployment, banks and bankers becoming hate figures with lives of hundreds of millions being ruined.
Laffartey believes that 'it is increasingly evident that the world needs a new banking system and that it should not bear much resemblance to the one that has failed so spectacularly.'
He said, 'Standalone retail banks, which would do business only with people and small businesses, should be at the heart of the new system. Corporate and investment banking, which have brought us billions of pounds in toxic debt and trillions in banking bailouts, should be a separate sector.
'The case for the focused retail bank has never been more evident. Trust in banks is at an all-time low and the last thing that consumers want is to hear that their savings are being used for activities such as commercial property lending or high-risk securities trading.'
These retail banks would protect people's savings and help consumers to achieve their aspirations by smoothing out the ups and downs of cashflows throughout their lives.'