THE ADVENT OF ICT
Information Technology (IT) is the automation of processes, controls, and information production using computers, telecommunications, software and ancillary equipment such as automated teller machine and debit cards (Khalifa 2000). It is a term that generally covers the harnessing of electronic technology for the information needs of a business at all levels. Irechukwu (2000) lists some banking services that have been revolutionized through the use of ICT as including account opening, customer account mandate, and transaction processing and recording. Information and Communication Technology has provided self-service facilities (automated customer service machines) from where prospective customers can complete their account opening documents direct online. It assists customers to validate their account numbers and receive instruction on when and how to receive their chequebooks, credit and debit cards. Communication Technology deals with the Physical devices and software that link various computer hardware components and transfer data from one physical location to another (Laudon and Laudon; 2001). ICT products in use in the banking industry include Automated Teller Machine, Smart Cards, Telephone Banking, MICR, Electronic Funds Transfer, Electronic Data Interchange, Electronic Home and Office Banking.
Several authors have conducted investigation on the impact of ICT on the banking sector of the Nigeria economy. Agboola et al (2002) discussed the dimensions in which automation in the banking industry manifest in Nigeria. They include:
(i) Bankers Automated Clearing Services: This involves the use of Magnetic Ink Character Reader (MICR) for cheque processing. It is capable of encoding, reading and sorting cheques.
(ii) Automated Payment Systems: Devices used here include Automatic Teller Machine (ATM), Plastic Cards and Electronic Funds Transfer.
(iii) Automated Delivery Channels: These include interactive television and the Internet. Agboola (2001) studied the impact of computer automation on the banking services in Lagos and discovered that Electronic Banking has tremendously improved the services of some banks to their customers in Lagos. The study was however restricted to the commercial nerve center of Nigeria and concentrated on only six banks. He made a comparative analysis between the old and new generation banks and discovered variation in the rate of adoption of the automated devices. Aragba-Akpore (1998) wrote on the application of information technology in Nigerian banks and pointed out that IT is becoming the backbone of banks’ services regeneration in Nigeria. He cited the Diamond Integrated Banking Services (DIBS) of Diamond Bank Limited and Electronic Smart Card Account (ESCA) of All States Bank Limited as efforts geared towards creating sophistication in the banking sector. Ovia (2000) discovered that banking in Nigeria has increasingly depended on the deployment of Information Technology and that the IT budget for banking is by far larger than that of any other industry in Nigeria. He contended that On-line system has facilitated Internet banking in Nigeria as evidenced in some of them launching websites. He found also that banks now offer customers the flexibility of operating an account in any branch irrespective of which branch the account is domiciled. Woherem (1997) discovered that Nigeria banks since 1980s have performed better in their investment profile and use of ICT systems, than the rest of industrial sector of the economy. An analysis of the study carried out by African Development Consulting Group Ltd. (ADCG) on IT diffusion in Nigeria shows that banks have invested more on IT, have more IT personnel, more installed base for PCs, LANs, and WANs and a better linkage to the Internet than other sectors of the Nigerian economy. The study, however pointed out that whilst most of the banks in the west and other parts of the world have at least one PC per staff, Nigerian...
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