If you are an African living in Nigeria and or in the entire sub-saharan Africa, SSA, you would not be used to Standard Chartered Bank.
Fondly called StanChart by its adorers in the investment and merchant banking circles, this bank has many similarities with CitiBank in Africa. StanChart is reclusive, elusive and elitist. Even with a handful of branches across Lagos, Abuja and Port Harcourt, the bank only has a paltry of 1 million retail customers across Africa.
The current economic climate in most SSA markets where the bank had taken a huge bet in is making the bank to change its strategy to push its business more to the direction of retail banking.
In a statement made available by the bank, StanChart will be:
“Bringing its newest mobile and online banking platform to 1 million clients across 8 African markets, the most extensive digital rollout of its kind in Africa by an international bank. Supported by the Bank’s global-standard technology, clients will enjoy a consistent online experience across laptops, tablets or mobile phones, and the convenience of banking from the location of their choice.
After the rollout to Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe in the first half of 2016, the Bank will launch fingerprint recognition technology in these markets later in the year, giving clients a more secure and convenient way to log in to their accounts.”
The bank will be using two approaches in getting this done. Its customers in Botswana, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe will be migrated to its Standard Chartered Mobile for the first time. Customers in these markets will be able to check balances, transfer money and pay bills securely, all through their smartphones. While its customers in Nigeria and Ghana will be moved to its standard mobile platform.
According to Standard Chartered, its retail banking business serves the banking needs of nearly 10 million individual and business clients across more than 30 markets in Asia, Africa and the Middle East, through more than 1,000 branches, 5,000 ATMS and a range of digital and staff-assisted channels.
There is currently a rally by major banks in Africa to make more money through mobile and digital banking. However, it is also a strategy to drive down OPEX, in a challenging economic climate.
StanChart had scaled down its workforce by 15,000 globally in late 2015 when it reported a loss due to impairments raked valued at USD 1.23 billion from its operations in China and Asia Pacific. The bank has since raised USD 5.1 billion to shore up its capital base. The bank is still facing lawsuits in the United States in a money laundering case surrounding its dealings in Iran.
Standard Chartered Bank is quoted on the London Stock Exchange, LSE and the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. Its stock currently trade on the LSE at GBP 529.30 oper share. Its stock has declined by 45.7% in the last 12 months.