Jobs at risk as digitalisation takes its toll on Standard Chartered expansion plans, mobile money
LEFT: Lamin Manjang, MD/CEO Standard Chartered Bank, Nigeria

Nigerians are reducing their time and appearance in bank halls as the unwillingness to visit banks begin to grow among them. This change in behaviour is, however, affecting some banks – leading to the closure of branches. Standard Chartered Bank of Nigeria has disclosed that it would no longer open branches across Nigeria for the same reason. 

Standard Chartered Bank of Nigeria doesn’t have its branches across all states, and it just might remain that way for a long time as the lender is one of the banks scaling back their expansion drive due to the adoption of digitalisation by Nigerians. 

According to the Chief Executive Officer of Standard Chartered Bank of Nigeria and West Africa, Lamin Manjang, the company has redirected its investment focus, with much of it going into digital platforms in order to adapt to the technological trend in Nigeria. Standard Chartered has 22 branches, mainly in Lagos, Abuja and Port Harcourt. 

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Nairametrics had reported that the future of banks is becoming cloudier due to the activities of Fintechs, as well as the inclusion of telecommunications companies into the payment system in Nigeria. The goal of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to achieve 80% financial inclusion by 2020 has created more transactional options than ever at the fingertips of Nigerians, giving them reasons not to visit banks in their locations. 

Speaking during an interview, Manjang said, “For retail banking, we have decided to adopt a focused strategy which is that we are going to focus on a few cities as opposed to the nationwide sought of mass marketing strategy that other banks follow. We are investing in the digital bank platform and we will be announcing major changes on that front.  

“We believe that the future of retail banking would largely dovetail towards the digital channels. Quite honestly, if you look back at 30-40 years ago and the role of the traditional bank branch and then look at the role of a branch today, you will realise that it is quite different.  

“So, the things that would typically take you to a bank branch are things that you can now do without visiting a branch and, therefore, that speed, convenience and accessibility that digital channels provide for clients are areas I think we should invest more in as opposed to physical channels.  

“I am sure you know about banks that are now digital, from opening an account to transacting; everything has to be digital. So, we are going to spend more in that space and that will give us the capacity to scale up and reach out.” 

Negative impact: Job opportunities are created when companies expand. Without the expansion of companies, unemployment will continue to rise as it happened in recent years. While the adoption of digital ensures comfort and ease of financial transaction, it also will cost people their jobs in the banking sector. 

The banks seem to be impacted more by the advancement of technology. Already, jobs are being projected to be lost in the next two to three years as technology is expected to take over 30% of banking jobs. 

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