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Standard Chartered Nigeria Invests $3bn in Technology to Deepen Financial Inclusion

Standard Chartered Bank Nigeria has said that between the last three and five years, it has invested over $3 billion in technology in its efforts to promote growth of digital banking.

David Idoru, Head of Retail Banking, Standard Chartered Bank Nigeria stated this in a report tagged ‘The Rise of Nigeria’s Invisible Bank’.

He said, “When we looked at the recent  NIBSS report, the total number of bank accounts as at September 2019 was 123.9 million; with total number of active accounts at 74.7 million, and the total number of active bank customers (individuals) at 69.0 million.

“The importance of quick access to finance cannot be undervalued and with financial exclusion still, a barrier in Nigeria – only a digital innovation in banking can influence growth in the sector.

“While the obvious financial inclusion challenge is something we are keen to address, we ask ourselves, is this a problem that digital banking and innovation can solve? Yes, it certainly is. To buttress this, a report demonstrated that 59 per cent of Nigerian customers prefer digital methods of banking, with only about 15 per cent still fixed on the traditional form.

“In the payments ecosystem, we decided at Standard Chartered Bank that it was important to drive this digital innovation with a completely virtual type of retail banking that is both efficient and convenient. In December of 2019, we launched Nigeria’s first digital bank to address everyday payment problems without the need for customers to walk into a physical bank.”

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He noted that unlike other banks, its digital bank communicates an ‘unstoppable and banking everywhere’ message to customers and for the first time, Nigerians are experiencing a branchless, digital bank that offers savings accounts, current accounts, fixed deposits (with the option of joint accounts) along with lending and WA wealth management solutions and a client onboarding process that takes only 10 minutes.

“This kind of innovation is possible due to the level of investments we have made to ensure that it delivers digital banking comparable to none. In the last 3-5 years, Standard Chartered has invested over $3 billion in technology

“We have also taken a ‘Capturing the Digital Initiative’ approach that ensures that about 70 per cent of the most common service requests can be handled by our digital bank with distinct benefits such as a zero charge on all interbank transactions, zero charges on SMS notifications and free delivery of cards to customers regardless of location.