The digital future necessitates new ways of thinking, says Standard Bank


The digital revolution is turning the world into a global information hub and opening radical new business opportunities. This revolution requires a radical shift in the way banks enable and connect to clients and ecosystems.

Mobile money is now the leading payment platform for a digital economy in emerging markets and as Africa’s largest bank by assets, Standard Bank is moving swiftly with advancements that digitise a host of client journeys aimed at radically uplifting and improving client experiences.

“We need to keep enhancing and personalising experiences in alignment to what matters to clients”, says Theo Skosana, Head of Digital Banking & eCommerce for Personal and Business Banking at Standard Bank South Africa.

According to GSMA industry statistics for 2017, Sub-Saharan Africa has long been the epicentre of mobile money, and growth in this region shows no sign of slowing. In 2017, Western and Middle Africa were the fastest growing areas of Sub-Saharan Africa, led by tremendous growth in registered accounts in countries like Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire and Cameroon.

Total global transaction values grew by 21 per cent from $26 billion in December 2016 to over $31.5 billion in December 2017, while the percentage of providers who offer mobile money through a smartphone app has increased from 56 per cent in 2015 to 73 per cent as of June 2017.

As a lead sponsor of the SingularityU South Africa Summit – now in its second year – Standard Bank takes innovation seriously and is therefore not standing still as it continues to build innovative solutions in line with emerging trends.

The SingularityU conference, taking place on 15 and 16 October, will drive new thinking and modes of doing business so that exponential technology can be harnessed to future proof Africa.

As a universal financial services organisation Standard Bank will increasingly lean on technology to deliver solutions that make a difference in the lives of customers. ”Initial solutions need to cover Personal Lending, Home Loans, Card, Vehicle and Asset Financing, Transactional and Business Banking, but the end game is ensuring a frictionless straight through process across all digital channels,” says Skosana.

As an example, in the vehicle and asset finance space, clients now have the ability to manage their profiles by viewing their current balances, original loan values, repayment amounts and dates, as well request settlement quotes. They can also originate a new vehicle and asset finance end-to-end without leaving the channel.

Additionally, clients now have an overview of insurance policies, can request full schedules via email, and submit claims for homeowners’ insurance cover directly from the app.

Additionally, banking features comprise the ability generate bank confirmation letters, tax certificates, as well as stamped bank statements.

”Mobile transaction volumes and activity are on the rise, and as smartphones become more and more accessible we have seen the migration from Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) to mobile app banking. Remaining consistent with our vision of client-centricity, we recently launched free app banking to all our clients,” says Skosana.

Clients can now transact on the app, anywhere and anytime, with no associated data charges. As a result this has contributed to an increase in active clients of 39%, an increase in transactions of 98% and a 45% increase in rand amount transaction values.

Standard Bank continues to advance the Digital Banking and eCommerce footprint on three primary digital channels, i.e. Internet Banking, Mobile App and Online Store (

At the end of 2017, 54 new features were live on the Mobile app, and 38 features on the Internet Banking platform.

Skosana affirms that Standard Bank is accelerating digital and even embracing solutions from other industries and geographies, and integrating these in the bank’s environment.

Accessibility of banking features anywhere and anytime is becoming a daily norm for clients and banks need to ensure they remain a step ahead.

“In an increasingly digital world, cyber security will be paramount and we also witness industry-wide threats around cyber and mobile security. As a result, in parallel to building and growing our digital base, we focused on reducing the risk to our clients by creating a safer and a more secure environment to transact in. To this effect we are proud to say our fraud YoY is down 66%. Our teams are vigilant against cyber-crime to protect our clients as well as the bank. The fraud initiatives are centred on automation and effective and efficient controls, timeous fraud alerts, as well as improved processes. Clients are enabled to connect securely on our digital channels with tailored biometric controls,” says Skosana.

Further client-centric solutions are in the pipeline.

”We will continue to build platforms that will be a hub of connectivity for our clients and the respective ecosystems to the world. The ideal is to create one, central access point for everything and we are well on track to doing just that,” concludes Skosana.


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