Nairametrics|Tier two bank, Stanbic IBTC has decided to reduce the documentation required to open a bank account. Customers can fill a single form online and instantly open an account. The bank may have deepened its push into digital services for various reasons. But the primary reason is competition.
Other banks in the country have various forms of online or mobile banking products. GT bank has its 737 USSD banking service which is quite successful. Diamond bank in association with MTN Nigeria in 2014, embarked on a similar venture where customers could open account with their mobile phone. Alat, a sub unit of Wema bank recently commenced operations. All operations of the bank from opening an account to card collection can be executed without a physical visit to a branch.
There has been a gradual evolution from brick and mortar banking to electronic banking globally and within Nigeria. Customers prefer to do their banking online as it is less time-consuming and frees up time for other activities. Ecobank, another tier two bank has decided to close several of its branches and turn them into digital operations.
The renewed push into online banking will also lead to a reduction in expenses. N187 million was spent on stationery for the three-month period ended March 2017, compared to N137 million in 2016. The increase in cost could be as a result of the depreciation of the Naira, which has made paper, which is imported, more expensive.
Revenue from electronic banking increased massively from N254 million in the first quarter of 2016, to N526 million in 2017. Interest on loans and advances to customers increased marginally within the same period, from N13.551 billion in 2016 to N13.555 billion in 2017.
The bank in December 2016 launched ‘appyness’ its mobile app. in addition to linking its internet banking and mobile banking platforms, the app gives customers access to all the products offered by the Stanbic group. Ranging from mutual funds to pension products. Customers can also send money to those without bank accounts and even pay electricity bills. Add this to simplifying account opening, and you have a bank that is beginning to assert itself in the industry.
Tough macroeconomic conditions have made banks to slow down on lending and focus on other sources of revenue. For Stanbic, which is more renowned for its investment banking and fund management prowess, leveraging on simpler banking services could provide it the cutting edge it needs to compete. Its holdco status sometimes means that ideas take far longer to develop and execute. In this industry, banks that are big bold and nimble typically stay ahead of the competition, especially within their circle of competency.