FITC: Bringing Learning and Knowledge Solutions to the Nigerian Financial Services Sector by Chizor Malize

Chizor Malize gives an overview of FITC (Financial Institutions Training Centre), a world-class, innovation-led, technology-driven, knowledge and professional services institute that provides cutting edge learning, advisory and research services to organizations within the financial services sector across Nigeria and sub-Saharan Africa.

Interview with Chizor Malize, CEO of FITC (Financial Institutions Training Centre)

Chizor Malize, CEO of FITC (Financial Institutions Training Centre)

How does the institution, FITC work?

FITC is a world-class innovation-led and technology driven knowledge organization committed to leading the advancement in knowledge content that is creatively designed to strengthen the Nigerian financial system. Under the direct supervision of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) and the Nigerian Bankers Committee, FITC was established to provide innovative knowledge solutions and capacity building programmes that develop and strengthen resources for the Nigerian financial services sector.

For 40 years, FITC has been an innovator from the start, enabling people and organizations to excel. With our expertise, we help individuals, and their organizations realize the power of their potentials through knowledge solutions that drive superior performance. We work with our stakeholders predominantly in the Nigerian financial services sector to design and implement solutions for capacity development through learning, organizational structure design and business performance strategy development.

What are your differentiating factors and what makes you stand out?

At FITC, one factor that clearly stands us out is our innovation mindset that has led to organizational agility, improved processes and our cutting-edge learning and knowledge solutions. In partnership with world-class facilitators and coaches drawn from high performing industries, reputable business leaders and subject matter experts, we deliver top quality programmes.

Another differentiating factor is our Corporate Governance. Our Board is chaired by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and is drawn from the Nigerian Bankers’ Committee and the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC). Our Executive Management is accountable to the Board. We also have an independent Internal Audit and Control unit which ensures that adequate checks and controls are in place for all our processes. This has helped to ensure visibility and transparency in our operations. We can more easily track and measure performance, as well as identify and resolve challenges promptly. We have an organizational structure that encourages the creation of ad hoc committees for projects from across the different functional departments, giving room for inclusivity and diversity.

Another strategic advantage we have is our programme portfolio which is specifically tailored for board leadership, senior leadership, and executive management. Under our board leadership portfolio, we work collaboratively with institutions helping them strengthen their boards through knowledge, corporate governance structure, and consistent board evaluation to ensure they perform effectively and optimally because the board role is critical for every organization and every operation. Our Executive Education programme focuses on senior leadership, equipping these individuals with our innovative knowledge solutions to drive growth and deliver value to their organizations, so they can stay ahead, competitively.

Another differentiating factor is our strong market positioning as the leading knowledge organization from out of Africa. This is reflected in our robust knowledge content, top rated faculty, and consultants, which has helped our knowledge programmes and solutions reach over six (6) continents, and forty-eight (48) countries of the world with a large African footprint, impacting positively on over ten thousand organizations globally.

Finally, our people remain our greatest asset and our competitive differentiator. This is the reason why we remain focused on building capabilities across the different levels of our employees, from our senior management to middle management, as well as our front-line employees, developing employee engagement programmes that foster leadership, personal growth, excellence, teamwork, and an innovative and enterprise mindset thereby catalyzing organization-wide transformation and accelerating performance.

What is your view on partnerships and collaborations?

Organizations often pursue partnerships and collaboration with other entities with complementary capabilities. In pursuit of our world class aspiration, we are always looking for valuable partnerships with visionary organizations with common intent. Partnerships and collaborations help to expand our reach, strengthen, and deepen our frontiers.

Through our partnership approach, we focus on priorities that enrich our offerings such as robust and top-rated local and international faculty, who bring on board global insights and perspectives with local relevance, enriched learning content and shared infrastructure. We work collaboratively with top notch organizations to develop new capabilities that foster alignment of strategies, create mutual benefit and competitive advantage while maximizing performance and bringing greater value to all stakeholders.

How do you collaborate with these individuals and entities?

We collaborate with individuals and organizations by giving them a platform and the opportunity where they can showcase their expertise and enrich minds across new frontiers within the emerging and developed markets that we serve. Bringing a higher level of experience, we develop a curriculum that is relevant to these markets, infusing them with sophisticated thinking and knowledge content that enriches and equips them to do more.

What kind of clients do you serve?

FITC is a world-class innovation-led and technology driven knowledge organization committed to leading the advancement in knowledge content that is creatively designed to strengthen the Nigerian financial system.

FITC was established to provide innovative knowledge solutions and capacity building programmes that develop and strengthen resources predominantly for the Nigerian financial services sector, and other sectors of the economy including FMCG (Fast-Moving Consumer Goods), oil and gas, maritime, consulting, manufacturing, and telecommunications, among others. We equip Managers, Senior Leadership and Directors of organizations in these sectors with the knowledge and skills they need to help improve their business performance for organizational growth and sustainability.

Through our FITC Advisory portfolio, we equip leaders and organizations with knowledge-based research, developing cutting edge strategies that convert opportunities into value. We help them to re-engineer their processes, products, or programmes, enabling them to become the best that they can be. We help organizations hire the right people and advise them on how to develop potentials and motivate their workforce. In doing so, we help professionals in the Nigerian financial services and other sectors, to navigate and advance their careers while building on our member firms’ successes through our clear vision, strong corporate values, and our culture of excellence.

Our Board Leadership and Executive Education programmes are targeted at Managers, Senior Leadership and Directors. We create a curriculum that defines all the programmes that they should take over time. These programmes cut across leadership, technology, talent management, risk management, enterprise, cybersecurity, finance and accounting, all of which are very critical to their operations. This way, we are constantly helping them to identify and maximize their potentials, equipping them to deliver more.

As an insight driven organization, we commission extensive research that are relevant to the industry that we serve. Recently, we launched our Millennial Consumption Survey that specifically looks at the banking habits of millennials, and how they are consuming banking services, to be able to develop appropriate products for them. This is because they are totally different from the older generation in terms of their channels, preferences, saving interests, investments, etc. Such surveys help the industry to design programmes and products that are relevant to their market. Across all areas, we design need-driven programmes that add value to the individuals and organizations that we serve.

What is one of your success stories?

We have several success stories, one of which include being able to transform FITC into an extremely agile organization. The world is currently recording rapid and accelerated changes predominantly driven by technology. Consumer preferences and behaviors are also changing. All of these are transforming the ways that we live today. To survive and thrive, proactive organizations must seek to transform how they operate. At FITC, part of our strategy for remaining in our leadership position was our visionary and proactive steps to become agile.

Embarking on an agile transformation as a new way of thinking was for us a key catalyst for our transformative work over the past months. Beyond technology, we applied the principles of agility across our entire organization from process innovation, new programme development, customer relationship management, consumer insight analytics. We responded swiftly to our stakeholders learning and knowledge needs, increased our speed of execution with remarkable improvement in our productivity.

Our ability to identify and redefine our six strategic pillars in line with our corporate strategy and organizational blueprint to build an extremely dynamic, agile, and contemporary organization, was another one of our resounding success stories. We identified the six strategic pillars that would drive success for us. They include re-defining and re-engineering our programmes, platforms, processes, people, performance, as well as our corporate positioning. We built an organization where the programmes are not only relevant but can also stand amongst the best in the world.

We were able to re-engineer our platforms to be more cutting edge to deliver our knowledge solutions beyond Nigeria and across Africa so anybody could learn from anywhere. We have so far reached a minimum of 48 countries and six continents of the world. This is very remarkable.

We recreated our processes to reduce bureaucracies, minimize waste and eliminate redundancy making them sharper, smarter, and smoother, so that people can do more with less resources, less time and energy.

We recognize that people are our greatest assets, especially because we are a service driven organization and as such, we established an atmosphere aimed at challenging and changing mindsets. We created an opportunity where people could find a sense of ownership and enterprise involvement and encouraged a culture of collaboration where people had the opportunity to move ahead and be the best that they can be. We equipped our people to learn more, do more, and be more, making them more agile and productive. As a result of the culture of collaboration, teamwork, and partnerships amongst our people, we cultivated a culture of performance.

In line with our vision to position ourselves as a world class innovation led and technology driven knowledge institution, our corporate positioning took a big leap and people began to see much more of FITC in the media sphere and how we are positively impacting thousands of organizations and transforming the knowledge industry in Nigeria and across the African continent.

Who are some of the clients that you work with?

Our programmes run across operators and regulators. We offer significant services to organizations in the financial services sector which includes the deposit money banks, mortgage institutions, development financial institutions, merchant banks, pension and insurance companies, as well as other sectors such as the FMCG (Fast-Moving Consumer Goods), oil and gas, maritime, consulting, manufacturing, and telecommunications.

What is your medium to long term vision for this institution?

Our vision is to be a world-class, innovation led, and technology driven knowledge institution and our mission is to go beyond the ordinary to deliver value, by equipping individuals and organizations in the financial services sector and other sectors with innovative knowledge solutions and services. In line with this mandate, we have been able to consistently create innovative platforms to deliver knowledge across emerging and developed markets in the different geographical locations anywhere in the world. This means that anyone can sit in the comfort of their homes or offices in Kenya, Zambia, Vietnam, or Indonesia and take our programmes, given the peculiarities and similarities with the Nigerian economy in needs and experiences.

The financial services sector is very critical to us because we understand how important it is to the economy of every nation, and more so to Nigeria. So, we aim to unswervingly offer our services to ensure that the industry keeps ahead, and that the organizations within that sector keep thriving because this would amount to the long-term growth of both the economy and the stability of the nation.

We intend to relentlessly bridge the knowledge gap in Nigeria and across Africa, impacting the individuals, organizations, and industry we serve, and transforming the continent with our knowledge solutions, leveraging our local and global partnerships and collaborations.

What is your inspiration? What drives you to do what you do?

I am described as a catalyst and an enabler. I help shape minds, define vision, and bring goals to fruition. As a catalyst, I help to bring dynamism, inspiration, direction and focus to goals and ideas. I assist individuals, organizations, and corporations to crystallize their vision, helping them create the smart roadmap they need to achieve them. I am extremely diligent and focused with strong discipline and execution capacity. I am driven by the passion for excellence and the desire to impact people and society positively.

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