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ASSESSMENT OF ELECTRONIC BANKING AND SERVICE DELIVERY IN THE BANKING INDUSTRY IN NIGERIA (STUDY OF ZENITH BANK PLC)
1.1 Background of the Study
Since the history of human development, information has played a prominent role in our lives. The robust development in science & technology has immeasurably increased the role of information in every facet of human endeavor. The rapid expansion of a mass of diversified information has given birth to the term “information explosion” and a rise to the scientific approach in information management and in the interpretation of the concept of information.
The concept has been broadened to include information exchanges not only among men but also among machines as well as the exchange of signals in the animal and plant worlds. The pace of change brought by new technologies has had significant effect on the way people live, work, and play globally.
Today’s business environment is very dynamic and rapid changes as a result of creativity, innovation, technological changes, increased awareness and demands from customers. Business organizations, especially the banking industry of the 21st century operates in a complex and competitive environment characterized by these changing conditions and highly unpredictable economic climate with Information and Communication Technology (ICT) at the centre of this global change curve.
Laudon and Laudon (2014) contended that managers cannot ignore information systems because they play a critical role in any contemporary organization. They point out that the entire cash flow of most Fortune 500 companies is linked to information system. The application of information and communication technology concept, techniques, policies and implementation strategies to banking services has become a subject of fundamental importance and concerns to all banks and a prerequisite for local and global competitiveness. ICT directly affects the various management functions of planning, organizing and the nature of services offered in the banking industry. It has continuously changed the way banks organized their corporate relation worldwide with the variety of innovative devices available to enhance the speed and quality of services delivery.
Harold and Jeff (2015) contended that financial service providers should modify their traditional operating practice to remain viable in the 21st century and the decade beyond. Thus, ICT has emerged as a catalyst in the various industries of the world to aid the process and procedure required to ensure the realization of various organizational goals.
Indeed, the explosive growth in Information and Communication Technology (ICT) have narrowed digital divide and turned business sphere to electronic world (e-World). Specifically, technological innovations have led credence to global transformation of operational dimension of traditional banks over a decade ago. Internet technology has brought about a paradigm shift in banking operations to the extent that banks embrace internet technology to enhance effective and extensive delivery of wide range of value added products and services.
The adoption of ICT by banks has led to what is now generally known as electronic banking or e-banking. The role of electronic banking in service delivery became of interest to this study due to the significant role it plays in the economy by stimulating economic growth through the intermediation of funds to economic agents that need them for productive activities. This function is very vital for any economy that intends to experience meaningful growth because it provides arrangements that bring borrowers and lenders of financial resource together and more efficiently too than if they had to relate directly with one another (Ojo, 2007).
Consequently, Nigerian banks, especially the deposit money bank (DMBs), recognized electronic banking to be the most effective means of distinguishing themselves from other competitors by investing in sophisticated technology (Auta, 2010).
In the last few years, Nigerian banks have been witnessing tremendous success in the delivery of a wide range of value added products and services through e-banking and there have been evidences of increasingly acceptance of e-banking in Nigeria (Ayo, 2010). It has been observed that Nigerian banks have realized that the way in which they can gain competitive advantage over their competitors is through the use of technology (e-banking). Thus, there is growing rate of technology adoption in the Nigerian banking operations (Salawu and Salawu, 2014).
However, the fact that e-banking is fast gaining acceptance in Nigerian banking operation does not assuredly signifies improved performance nor would conspicuous use of internet as a delivery channels make it economically viable, productive or profitable. Whether progress is made in the use of internet technology (e-banking) or not, there should be a parameter to adequately measure performances of these banks over specific period of adoption.
No doubt, empirical studies exist on e-banking and its impact bank performance. However, there is a relative dearth of empirical studies that provide evidence on the impact of electronic banking on service delivery in Nigeria, despite its increasing rate of adoption by Nigerian banks.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Electronic banking has become a very important aspect of today’s banking and financial services delivery in Nigeria in particular and the world at large. The competitive nature of banking business has necessitated the emphasis now placed on electronic banking. In the developed societies, ICT is generally believed to have dramatic influence and is seen as continually determining the competitive nature of virtually all business. Conversely, in the developing countries, ICT has brought a technological revolution whose use and production have been somewhat limited but holds a great promise in accelerating socio-economic development in these countries. In Nigeria, the application of electronic banking to banking operations has become a subject of concern to all banks operating in the country and indeed, a prerequisite for global competition and satisfaction.
As a basic prerequisite in the development of banking business, customer satisfaction holds the potential for increasing an organization’s customer base, increase in the use of more volatile customer mix and increase in firm’s reputation. The consolidation exercise in Nigerian banking sector has left customers with a wide range of choice for products and services.
Studies have shown significant and positive correlation between electronic banking and customer satisfaction and profitability. Although, the Nigerian banking industry is relatively slow in the adoption and utilization of electronic banking. In this wise, Nigerian banking industry is lagging behind its counterparts in Europe, Asia, and America in the adoption and application of electronic banking to its operations. But it should be noted that electronic banking has become the major tool that enables banks to present a more professional product offer and keep pace with innovative market place. It is also reasoned that, if Nigerian banks move towards a high-level of adopting electronic banking in their entire operations, it will impact positively on customers’ satisfaction that translate to high retention rate and higher profitability.
It is in view of the aforementioned fact that, this study seeks among other things to examine whether or not the application of electronic banking has improved the service delivery of Nigeria banks using Zenith Bank as case study.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The broad objective of the study is to assess whether electronic banking has improved service delivery of Nigerian banks with focus on Zenith Bank Plc. Specific objectives include:
- To assess the extent Zenith Bank has adopted electronic banking in their operations
- To determine whether the adoption of electronic banking in Zenith Bank has led to improved customer services
1.4 Research Questions
The following research questions have been designed to elicit the desired response to achieve the objectives of the study:
- To what extent has Zenith Bank adopted electronic banking in her operations?
- Has the adoption of electronic banking in Zenith Bank improved customer services?