Standard Chartered announced Thursday (Jan. 31) that it has kicked off the second phase of its initiative to roll out a digital-only retail bank in Africa.
In a press release, Standard Chartered said that in response to demand from consumers in Africa, it will launch its digital banking business in Uganda, Tanzania, Ghana and Kenya. Uganda will be the first market rollout, with the others following quickly behind. The company said the expanded rollout comes on the heels of the successful launch of its first digital retail bank in Côte d’Ivoire (CDI) last year.
The second phase of the rollout builds upon the platform, which gets customers signed up in less than 15 minutes and provides access to 70 of the most common service requests. It also includes QR code and P2P payments, loan and overdraft facilities and instantly fixed deposits. Standard Chartered said the digital bank will also ink local alliances to create services across shopping, travel and dining.
“We are thrilled to launch the second phase of our digital-only retail banks across other African markets,” said Sunil Kaushal, regional CEO, Africa and the Middle East, in the press release. “We are thrilled to launch the second phase of our digital-only retail banks across other African markets. The bank continues to make strategic and sustainable investments in technology – this complements our innovation agenda, as well as enhances our digital offerings and client experiences. Digitizing Africa and facilitating access to financial services remains at the heart of our business strategy for the region.”
According to Standard Chartered, Africa is the second fastest-growing market for banking and the second most profitable on a global basis. The retail banking sector in Africa is innovative, given the lack of banking penetration and the heavy reliance on cash. In conjunction with the rollout in the four new markets, the African digital bank plans to launch an advertising campaign to drum up interest.
“There will continue to be disruption in the banking sector,” said central bank Governor Prof. Emmanuel Tumusiime-Mutebile, in the press release. “Institutions that fail to keep up might lose out, and at the very worst be pushed out of business in the long run. However, this disruption to bank business models works in the interest of customers and the general populace.”