1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY:
Today’s business environment is very dynamic and undergoes rapid changes as a result of technological innovation, increased organizations, especially, the banking sector of the 21st century operates in a complex environment characterized by these changing conditions and highly unpredictable economic climate. Information and communications technology (ICT) is at the centre of this global change curve. Laudon and Laudon (1991) held that manager cannot ignore information system because they play a critical role in contemporary organizations. They point out that the entire cash flow of most successful companies studied is linked to information technology.
The application of Information and communication technology (ICT), concepts, techniques, policies and implementation strategies to banking services has become a subject of fundamental importance and concern to all banks, and of course a requirement for local and global competiveness. ICT directly affects how managers decide, how they plan and what products and services are offered in the banking industry. It has continued to change the way banks and their corporate relationships are organized globally, and the variety of innovative devices available to enhance the speed and quality of service delivery.
Harold and Jeff (1995) maintain that financial service providers should upgrade their traditional operating practice to remain viable in the 1990s and the decades to come. They claim that the most influential weakness in the banking industry today is wide spread failure on the part of senior management in banks to group the importance of technology and incorporate it into their strategic plans accordingly.
Woherem (2000) maintained that only banks that overhaul the whole of their payment and delivery system and apply ICT to their operations are likely to survive and prosper in the 21st Century. He therefore advised banks to properly position them within the frame work of the dictates of the dynamism of information and communication technology. The banking industry in Nigeria has witnessed overwhelming changes linked with the development in ICT over the years. The quest for survival, global relevance, maintenance of existing market share and sustainable development has made the explanation of the numerous advantages of ICT through the use of automated devices imperative in the industry.
This study shall evaluate the adoption of ICT products by the selected bank (UBA Plc.) and assess the impact of adopting these innovations on its services.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Information and Communications Technology has become a major tool for rendering or providing competitive advantages for companies most especially banking industry, in terms of the number of computers in use and the level of telecommunication infrastructure. Thus ICT directly affects how managers decide, how they plan and what products and services are offered in the banking industry. It has continued to change the way banks and their corporate relationships are organized worldwide and the variety of innovative devices available to enhance the speed and quality of service delivery.
Oluyemiadeosun (2007) contended that ICT is progressively reducing the significance of other factors of production. Through ICT, it is now possible for countries to trade without border restriction. Therefore, as a result of anchoring their operations on ICT based delivery system, the banks with ICT services have become more profitable.
Akinlola (2006) made an evaluation of recent experience of banks and discovered that ICT has greatly affected the operations of banks. He discussed three dimensions under which ICT affects bank services, viz;
(i). Bankers Automated clearing system
(ii). Automated Payment system
(iii). Automated delivery channels
His report revealed that the adoption of ICT by banks have far reaching impact, ranging from direct (such as time saving, customer’s satisfaction, error rate reduction, enhanced management decision making, improved speed of service delivery etc) to global (like competitive advantage, market segmentation, high revenue and forecasting).
Though the advantages and opportunities that ICT offers are very great and enormous, this is not without challenges. According to Oluyemiadeosun (2007), ‘fraud can likely occur more seriously in the financial industry since large amount may be easier to perpetrate electronically that the manual operation’. Fraudsters can break various security codes. Though fraud can be minimized, there could still be some elements of dishonest act. According to him, ‘another area in which the adoption of ICT has negatively affected the banking sector is the threat it poses for employees in the sector’.
Michael Dell characterizes the direct business today as different combinations of ‘face –to-face, ear-to-ear and keyboard-to-keyboard. Each has its place. Internet doesn’t replace people; it makes them more efficient by moving routers interaction to the web and enabling customers to do mere things for themselves.
While some people are of the opinion that ICT poses positive effects, others are of the view that the negative effects are more.
The problem statement of this study is therefore, to examine the impact of ICT on bank services in UBA Plc.
1.3 OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY:
The main objectives of this study include;
(i). To critically examine the impact of ICT on banks services
(ii). To ascertain the impact of ICT on the general economy
(iii). To examine customers’ perceptions with regards to the various ICT products adopted by the bank
(iv). To serve as a useful reference material to the government, banks, organized private sector, academicians, businessmen as well as researchers.
1.4 SCOPE OF THE STUDY:
The scope of this research work is limited to the impact of ICT on bank services, especially as it relates to online banking, M-banking, ATM, Smartcards, EFT, etc.
This study is limited to UBA Plc in Calabar; it is difficult to cover other cities or areas due to limitations posed by time, money, distance and other limiting factors.
1.5 RESEARCH QUESTIONS:
A study of this magnitude is often based on some observed questions, and for the purpose of this study, the following research questions are considered.
(i). what impact has ICT on Bank services?
(ii). what impact has ICT on the growth and development of the economy?
(iii). what perceptions do customers have regarding the various ICT products adopted by banks?
(iv). How current are Nigerian banks with regards to ICT?
1.6 RESEARCH OPERATIONAL HYPOTHESES:
The following hypotheses are put forward for the purpose of this study.
Ho: ICT has no significant impact on bank services
HI: ICT has significant impact on bank services.
Ho: There is no relationship between customers’ perception and ICT products adopted by the bank.
HI: there is a relationship between customers’ perception and ICT products adopted by the bank.
1.7 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY:
Academically, this study will not only expand the frontier of knowledge in this field, but will also serve as a resourceful guide for future researchers. The significance of the study ‘the impact of ICT on Bank Services’ include;
– The provision of useful information on bank services, establish the impact or effects of specific ICT products such as, M-banking, ATM, smart phones |Etc and to proffer or suggest solutions to the many questions surrounding ICT.
– Serve as a guide or reference material to ICT agencies, authorities, banks, students and researchers who may like to carry out further research on the topic or related topics.
1.8 ORGANISATION OF THE STUDY:
This work is presented in five chapters and in the following chronological order.
Chapter one is introductory in nature and covers topics such as; background of the study, scope of the study, research questions, operational hypotheses, significance of the study, organization of the study, definition of terms and historical background of the organization studied.
Chapter two deals with the review of related literature and theoretical framework on issues of ICT, Nigerian banks ICT related products, effects on management decision and customers’ satisfaction, etc
The research methodology adopted for this study is highlighted in chapter three. The research method covers scope and research area, research design, sources of data, data collection and methods, restatement of the hypotheses among others,
Chapter four focuses on the data presentation and analysis test of hypothesis and discussion of research findings etc.
Chapter five summaries the whole research work and findings. The research conclusion, suggestions for further study and recommendations.
Finally, the reference and questionnaire are annexed as appendixes at the end.
1.9. DEFINITION OF TERMS:
A research of this magnitude calls for the definition of key terminologies and concepts used in the study. For the purpose of this report, the following terms and concepts are hereby defined only in context of their usage in this research.
- Information and Communication Technology
Information technology is the automation of processes, controls, and information production using computers, telecommunications, software and ancillary equipment such as Automated Teller Machine (ATM) and debit cards.
- Automated Teller Machine (ATM)
ATM is a machine used by the banks all over the world. This machine allows the account holder to have transactions with their own account without allowing them to access the entire bank’s data base. You can use the ATM of a bank in which you do not have an account by paying some charges. Other names for ATM are; cash point, cash machine, automated banking machine, etc.
A bank is a government licensed financial institution with the prime purpose of accumulating deposits in the various accounts operated by it and of course, lending of money to the interested public. Banks also involve in buying and selling of short and medium term financial instruments, offering advisory and consultancy services
- Bank services:
These are the ‘stock- in- trade’ of a bank. They are those products the banks offer to the public, like, account opening (current, savings, term deposit, etc.), transfer of account, credit and debit cards, etc.
- Online Banking (Internet banking):
This is a term used for performing transactions, payment, etc over the Internet through a bank credit union or agent.
- Mobile (Telephone) Banking
This is a service provided by financial institution which allows its customers to perform transactions over the telephone or mobile phone.
vii. Bank customer:
This refers to anyone who carries out business transaction with the bank.
LAN (Local Area Network) is the linking of two or more computers within a limited geographical area by high performance cables so that users can exchange information, share peripheral devices or access a common server.
- WAN (wide Area Network):
A WAN is created whenever two or more computers are linked by long- distance communication line that transverse distances greater than those supported by LAN
Any electronic device that is capable of accepting, processing and storing data.
- xi. Hardware:
These are visible parts of a computer system. They include the central processing unit (CPU), the keyboard, the display unit (monitor) etc
A set of programs that are written by computer programmers, that enables the hardware components to be identified, accept input, process and give the result.
1.10: HISTORICAL BACKGROUND OF THE ORGANISATION STUDIED
This section looks briefly at the history of UBA Plc.
Today’s United Bank of Africa Plc (UBA) is the product of the merger of Nigeria’s third and fifth largest banks, the old UBA and the erstwhile standard Trust Bank Plc. (STB) respectively, and a subsequent acquisition of the erstwhile Continental Trust Bank (CTB). The union emerged as the first successful corporate combination in the history of Nigerian Banking.
The history of the bank dates back to the founding of the UBA in 1961 and the erstwhile STB and CTB both in 1990. Today, the consolidated UBA is the largest financial institution in west Africa with total assets in excess of one hundred billion Naira (over USD 14b) and more than six million (7 m) customer accounts, operating out of 7 economies in central and East African Sub- regions- Nigeria, Ghana, Uganda, Cameroon, Coted’ivoie, Liberia and Sierra Leone. It has seven hundred (700) retail distribution centers across Nigeria, its main operational base, 16 branches in Ghana, 5 branches in Uganda and 5 branches in Cameroon. Outside Africa, it also has presence in New York, Layman Island and London.
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