Africa’s largest bank by assets, Standard Bank, has seen its mobile traffic growing 100% a year as customers embrace more convenient and efficient solutions for their banking needs. During 2015, 825 million financial transactions worth R430 billion were processed through the banking app. As a consequence of this, branch transactional volumes have declined and ATM and branch transactions now make up less than 5% of total banking transactions.
Ninety five per cent of Standard Bank’s transactions are already electronic, making it a genuinely digital bank. Peter Schlebusch, Standard Bank’s Chief Executive for Personal & Business Banking says: “The vast bulk of Standard Bank’s Personal & Business Banking strategy to 2020 is about how we can use digital capabilities to deliver an even better customer experience. This entails putting customers in control, providing more convenience, and extracting key customer insights from our rich data so that the bank becomes more proactive, relevant and easy to use.”
Online and app banking has truly transformed the way customers engage with their bank, enabling them to bank on their terms whenever they want. Mr Schlebusch says Standard Bank has invested heavily in IT infrastructure to ensure that the bank has a single view of the customer, and the customer has a single instant view of their complete banking services regardless of geography, product or customer segment. The app includes the ability to open accounts online, move money across borders quickly and easily, trade shares internationally on 29 stock exchanges and even lodge homeowner insurance claims off a single mobile device.
The move to mobile has been enthusiastically received by customers:
- Most customers now bank outside of traditional banking hours. A high peak hour is between 8:00am and 09:00am
- The total number of unique Standard Bank universal banking IDs created to date is more than 600 000
- Over R5.7 billion in value has been traded on Standard Bank’s Online Share Trading App to date
- Over 22 000 merchants and more than 200 000 customers have signed up for SnapScan
- InstantMoney has processed more than R7.5 billion in money transfers and remittances
The bank is upgrading its entire core banking systems in an effort to meet the continually changing behaviour of customers. The fully functional new core banking platform in South Africa is processing substantial volumes, with approximately 570 million transactions processed in 2015, 27% more than in 2014. Across the rest of Africa the bank already has 73% of Personal & Business Banking customers on its new core banking system.
Standard Bank will continue to leverage off increased smartphone penetration. In Africa, the internet is being predominantly accessed by the smart mobile device, for example, in South Africa, 60% of all internet page views are on a smartphone.
Standard Bank continues to enhance its integrated universal banking app, which allows personal, business and high net worth customers to view and transact with a single digital ID across multiple geographies, including South Africa, Ghana, Namibia, Botswana, Uganda and Standard Bank Offshore, with additional launches in the countries in which Standard Bank operates expected in the coming months.
“We are committed to Africa and proudly call the continent our home. Africa loves mobile. This is why we are so excited about how technology and data is allowing us to get even closer to our customers. We are steadfast on a strategy of tapping into the increasing use of technology, like smartphones, tablets and wearables, across the continent to become a truly integrated internet-based financial services business,” says Mr Schlebusch.
As innovative solutions for an increasingly mobile, tech savvy and cost conscious client base continue to be harnessed, the bank’s vision is clear: To become a digital leader in Africa.
‘’Our aim is to be always on and always connected, while providing biometric authentication and extensive use of data analytics to personalise the customer experience to a far larger degree,” says Mr Schlebusch.
To succeed in this, Standard Bank has placed the customer at the heart of the bank’s digital strategy, with a remarkable list of first to market innovations to date. These include:
- The single digital ID across multiple countries
- Biometric identification for mobile banking
- An app enabling clients to trade across 29 different stock exchanges off their mobile device
- 24/7 Banking instant messaging service for Private & Prestige customers via WeChat – with further developments imminent
- A card console to remotely turn cards on and off, and control the countries and the time when the card may be used
- Snapscan, which enables mobile phone payments using QR codes or iBeacons regardless of where customers bank
An additional first in the pipeline is the first-of-its kind Kidz Banking App, which is a game-like, vividly animated banking app designed primarily for children aged 6-11 years. Just in time for Savings Month 2016, the app was developed with youth education and the improvement of the culture of saving in mind. It will be linked to a parent’s Standard Bank smartphone app, and features colourful characters – themed on South Africa’s Big 5 – that assist parents in guiding children on money management concepts such as earning, saving and responsible spending.
The customer experience in the future will be worlds apart from what it was just a few years ago. Where customers pressed ten buttons before to conduct a simple banking transaction, the intelligence of the future will better understand and anticipate their behaviour in advance and only one click will be needed to set in motion multiple responses and outcomes. These future digital capabilities will not only be more convenient and engaging for customers, but can also be expected to reduce costs.
“The cost of banking has halved in real terms in the last decade and a lot of it is because of the powerful and comprehensive digital platforms we have provided. This trend will continue as more consumers utilise digital channels in the future,” says Mr Schlebusch.