The Financial Brand Insights - Winter 2021

and shift their mindsets. Research, and my own personal experience, clearly indicates that organizational inertia is the main reason that many transformations stumble or falter. Many incumbent banking players have set off to digitize their services or launch neobanks. Yet, digitizing a retail bank (and indeed the overall bank and banking) in its truest sense is a challenge that very few players have been able to solve. It requires an inflight change not just of technology, but of entrenched structural costs and legacy mindsets of all banks, clients and regulators. The challenge is also compounded by the expectation of an immediate growth in profitability, which again causes transformation initiatives to deviate from the overarching purpose and settle for tactical solutions rather than a truly transformational outcome. The objective of banks ought to be to reinvent and disrupt using technology and digitalization as an enabler of increased revenue, returns, client acquisition and profits as the outcomes, which will undoubtedly follow if the services and solutions offered meet customer needs and solve their pain points. At Standard Chartered , we sought to address these issues by charting a journey towards digitization and self-disruption in Africa. Over the

Chartered experiencing an increase in its customer base by half a million, representing 50% of its legacy base, since the onset of the pandemic. The bank has also gone paperless, and all customer acquisitions are now digital, while in parallel all legacy customers are being converted into digital. Customer engagement is robust, evidenced through app ratings, feedback from customers and healthy average account balances. In Africa, the bank was able to support clients during COVID-19 without any interruption, even with minimal staff operating physically from offices. As a direct result of this digital readiness, and by the end of 2020, almost two-thirds of regular banking services were fulfilled using the app without the need for the customer to visit or call the bank. This technology platform has enabled the bank to offer retail and wealth products, while integrating with other ecosystem partners. The platform is populated with products, value

propositions, campaign leveraging analytics, continuous customer feedback and testing, and has been designed based largely on input from clients. Transforming and Overcoming Cultural Barriers This digital banking platform is showing early signs of transforming the wealth culture in Africa, by demystifying and bringing small-ticket investment and insurance offerings within the reach of the regular customer across Africa. The bank has witnessed a 250% increase in wealth management transactions booked when COVID-19 first hit the African markets. On a monthly average, the transactions were 160% higher in 2020 on the mobile app in Kenya compared to the average across the previous year. Kenya, one of the bank’s markets leading the digital transformation, crossed a critical milestone of USD 1bn in AUM (assets under management) boosted by the growth that digital enabled.

The digital banks attract a younger, digital-savvy demographic

More than two-thirds of accounts are being opened by consumers below the age of 35


SOURCE: Standard Chartered © November 2021 THE FINANCIAL BRAND

past three and a half years, the team in Standard Chartered Bank in Africa has tried to address the core issue that afflicts banking institutions — how to successfully and profitably convert a legacy international bank into a truly digital bank, using a standardized platform that is future-ready while also nimble enough to incorporate local flavors. After successfully piloting a digital bank in Côte d’Ivoire in 2018, Standard Chartered rolled out digital banking platforms across eight additional key African markets, including Uganda, Tanzania, Ghana, Kenya, Botswana, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Nigeria. Launching digital banking platforms across these nine markets was possibly far easier than rewiring mindsets and igniting a culture of innovation and experimentation! Yet, this cultural transformation is a must-do and a precursor to the real transformation and has been a critical

Digital banking platforms made a nine-market expansion much easier

Digitization has also the potential to increase the financial inclusion, especially of women , by enabling them to access banking products and services from anywhere, at any time. Sunil Kaushal CEO at Standard Chartered, AME

focus during the bank’s journey. Big Impact Among Key Customer Segments


The digital banks have allowed Standard Chartered to attract a new audience of future-ready consumers, comprising a younger, digital-savvy demographic, with more than two-thirds of accounts being opened by consumers below the age of 35 and women representing a much larger share than normal. The pandemic, rather than becoming a stumbling block, accelerated the growth, with Standard









SOURCE: Standard Chartered © November 2021 THE FINANCIAL BRAND





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