The dynamic intersection of technology, leadership, and the financial landscape

Nomonde White-Ndlovu, CIO of Bidvest Bank

Embark on an exploration into the intricate realm of fintech, where technology, leadership, and the financial landscape converge in a dynamic interplay.

Unveiling the complexities that define this intersection, we seek to unravel the profound insights that shape the future of financial technology in navigating the ever-evolving landscape where innovation, strategic leadership, and technological advancements coalesce to redefine the future of finance.

We are privileged to explore the dynamic landscape of fintech with our esteemed guest, Nomonde White Ndlovu, Chief Information Officer (CIO) for Bidvest Bank, who brings over 13 years of invaluable experience in the financial services industry.

Let’s delve into the dynamic intersection of technology, leadership, and the financial landscape.

How have your studies contributed to your ability to lead and innovate in fintech?

Short courses from MIT, and Harvard, especially during COVID-19, deepened my understanding, especially in cybersecurity because technology changes exponentially, I’m always interested in learning about what’s going on in the greater ecosystem.

It certainly has helped in terms of being able to strategize around how you deal with different leadership topics or concerns. Including risk topics as well, compliance and risk. To me, I think that when you work in technology, you always need to invest in learning opportunities because things change all the time and you just want to be on top of how best you can assist and lead your business organization.

What challenges and opportunities do you see in the Fintech sector?

From a financial services perspective, innovating to serve the unbanked population in South Africa and across Africa is crucial. Affordable solutions for inclusive payment methods and bridging the digital divide are essential.

We need to do more to ensure technology is accessible to all, we can’t always serve the small percentage of our banked communities that actually exist. More solutions have to be brought up to provide payment solutions to unbanked communities as well.

As our world is evolving every day with tech, we hear of AI, how does Bidvest Bank integrate AI into its systems, services, and operational processes?

Through being pragmatic, AI is part of our digitization strategy. We focus on feeding intelligent data to AI and robotics to provide proactive and personalized services to our clients. Insights from AI help us partner with customers, ensuring their businesses thrive through data-driven strategies.

There are always varying industry platforms that exist that all of us from an export perspective attend within our respective areas of expertise.

Participating in industry dialogues is a routine practice for me, and I believe that maintaining an interest in continuous education is crucial. Learning is a cornerstone for all of us, and as I mentioned earlier, I have two ex-school members currently undergoing training. Most of us are consistently engaged in the process of acquiring new knowledge. Our learning journeys extend beyond the borders of South Africa and Africa, as we actively seek insights from the global landscape.

We consider ourselves a learning business and organization, encouraging all team members to engage in continuous learning. In a world that changes exponentially, assuming that today’s knowledge will suffice for tomorrow is not a reliable approach.

Do you have innovative projects or initiatives that you recently launched or are about to launch at Bidvest Bank?

Regarding innovative projects or initiatives, we are excited about our BidSend a money transfer service, which focuses on remittances. While we are well-known for our strength in FX, the BidSend money transfer service aims to simplify payment processes, making transactions easy for communities, even in remote areas.

This service allows users to send payments seamlessly to various corridors, including a simple URL and integration with WhatsApp. Our goal is to ensure that sending money to family and friends globally becomes as simple, seamless, and affordable as possible.

In your leadership journey, what are most key principles of philosophies that guide you in making sure that you are the CIO that you are today?

In terms of leadership principles guiding my journey, authenticity is paramount. I’ve been fortunate to work with incredible leaders throughout my career, and the consistent key principle has been to show up as my authentic self in every interaction.

My strong set of values includes being a person of my word and believing in collaboration as a team effort. While I emphasize hard-on delivery, I also approach people with empathy, recognizing that everyone is on a unique journey.

Treating individuals with a one-size-fits-all approach is neither right nor fair. My leadership style balances a commitment to results with genuine care for the well-being and success of the people I work with, both in their professional and personal lives.

What are some of the challenges one can expect when venturing into this career, and how can they best overcome them?

As for challenges in venturing into this career, resilience is key. The industry demands significant dedication as businesses, particularly banks, operate 24/7.

Online banking platforms need to be accessible at any time, and ensuring continuous uptime is crucial. Technology evolves rapidly, and staying informed is necessary, but responsible.

While being at the forefront of technology is not always practical in a corporate setting, lagging is also undesirable.

The beauty of this sector lies in the constant opportunities to learn. Resilience is essential for individuals comfortable with operating in a collaborative team setting, as we frequently collaborate with both business and tech colleagues.

What advice can you give to young people if they want to be Nomonde White-Ndlovu?

Never aspire to be anyone else because you are the best version of yourself. Strive to become a phenomenal and even better version of who you are.

Considering where I am in my career, I aspire to contribute to propelling others, every step I take in my professional journey is aimed at paving the way for younger individuals to excel.

Sharing my knowledge and experiences is something I gladly do with young men and women entering this exciting industry. However, my desire is for them to excel in their unique ways.

The advice I offer to any young individual is to refrain from competing with others but to compete with themselves, aspiring to be a better version than they were yesterday. Attempting to outdo someone else is futile because their journey is unknown.

Also, focus on your path as our journeys are distinctive and aligned with God’s intentions for our respective lives. Through hard work, tenacity, and a bit of luck, I assure you that nothing you envision is impossible.