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Banking Sector

Standard Chartered Bank Embraces Digital Banking, Plans To Shut Down 50% Of Nigerian Branches

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Standard Chartered Nigeria - Investors King

As part of efforts to embrace digital banking, Standard Chartered Plc is closing about half its Nigerian branches.

A report by Bloomberg reveals that the London-listed lender’s local unit has already started to shut some offices in December and will eventually operate only 13 branches in the West African nation.

Sources familiar with the development noted that the bank is under pressure from mobile money providers and is strengthening mobile banking and recruiting agents to reach new customers and handle cash deposits and withdrawals across Africa’s biggest economy.

Since its establishment in Nigeria in 1999, Standard Chartered has focused on corporate banking. However, the bank is now gearing towards expanding its retail base. In 2019, it outlined a target to grow the number of its customers fivefold from 100,000 in about two years by using digital technology to onboard clients faster.

The lender also plans to start digital lending to process small loans quicker and increase the volume of retail credit, according to the people.

Notably, Standard Chartered is not the only finance industry leveraging on the digital banking platform. The bank’s shift mirrors the boom recorded in financial technology via the innovation of mobile money.

As a matter of fact, some major banks in Nigeria are also leveraging on fintech. Instead of opening more physical branches, some of these banks are minimizing costs by building networks of authorized agents, or people within communities to sell their products and services.

Recall that recently, some mobile communication networks were granted operating licenses by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). MTN Nigeria and Airtel Africa received the Approval-in-Principle (AIP) as Payment Service Bank (PSB) in November, 2021.

This is the first step in the process towards a final approval, subject to the fulfilment of certain conditions as stipulated by the CBN.

The PSB license allows the companies to among other things, maintain savings accounts and accept deposits from individuals and small businesses, which is covered by the deposit insurance scheme; carry out payments and remittance (including cross-border personal remittance) services through various channels within Nigeria; issue debit and prepaid cards and operate an electronic purse or wallet.

With a population of over 200 million people, of which more than a third have no access to financial services, Nigeria has seen an explosion in demand for payment solutions and lending outside traditional banking as businesses build on the rapid spread of mobile phones. Financial-technology companies have also benefited as customers sought to reduce physical contact during the pandemic.

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Banking Sector

We Are Not Affiliated With Access Capital Investment Platform, Access Bank Warns

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Access bank

The management of Access Bank Plc has issued a disclaimer in respect of the Access Capital Investment Platform which has been circulating.

The bank, which dissociates itself and its subsidiaries from the investment platform noted that the online investment entity has been soliciting members of the public to invest in its Access Capital Investment products promising mouth-watering returns on investment.

“By this disclaimer, Access Bank Plc wishes to dissociate itself, affiliates, subsidiaries and/or proxies from the activities, contract, claims or business engagements of Access Capital Investment Platform”, the bank said.

The bank further stressed that “Access Capital Investment Platform is not an affiliate nor subsidiary of Access Bank Plc and it would be at the risk of anyone who invests in any of the Access Capital Investment packages/products, as Access Bank Plc would not be responsible for any loss, damages, refund whatsoever that may arise therefrom”.

According to Access bank, relevant law enforcement and regulatory agencies have been notified of this disclaimer.

Investors King reports that there are lots of fake investments platforms in Nigeria. These platforms offer unsuspecting members of the public investments return that are too good to be true.

Most times, they offer fake – but often convincing – opportunity to make a profit after they hand over a sum of money. They pretend to be representing a legitimate and trusted investment group and pressurize their victims into making a rushed decision.

Usually, these fraudsters use platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to lure people into investing in cryptocurrencies, foreign exchange and binary options and often have convincing social media profiles or websites with fake reviews. Some of them even pay people to write fake reviews for them.

Recall that Investors King had earlier reported that the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Hajiya Sadiya Umar Farouq warned the beneficiaries of the N-Power scheme not to participate in any unverified investment scheme.

She had noted, in a statement, that the ministry is aware of the current fraudulent investment scheme trending on social media and therefore, urged N-power beneficiaries not to fall victim.

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Banking Sector

Parallex Bank Limited Promises Limitless Possibilities

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Parallex Bank

The latest entrant into the commercial banking industry in Nigeria, Parallex Bank has officially launched on Friday, January 14, 2022, with the promise to redefine the banking landscape in Nigeria and Africa at large. The bank launch was graced by several dignitaries from both the private and public sector. Also in attendance were several celebrities who witnessed the unveiling of the bank’s logo.

Introducing the bank to the gathering at the bank’s headquarters in Victoria Island Lagos, the chairman of the bank, Dr. Adeola Phillips said Parallex Bank is here to make a unique statement about what innovation can do in an industry that is constantly reinventing.  She further stated that the bank will operate broadly with a competitive mindset, to disrupt the market and delight customers with very attractive offers. The goal is to empower the banking public and to drive convenient and efficient commerce through the bank digital platforms. She added that the Parallex mobile app offers customers the freedom to do much more. The app will eliminate inconveniencies and hardships often faced by customers while carrying out transactions.

Corroborating the Chairman’s claims, the Managing Director of Parallex Bank, Mr. Olufemi Bakre, popularly known as Mayor, said the bank’s promise to its customers is to be an enabler of limitless banking. He established that Parallex Bank is the first bank in Nigeria to migrate from a microfinance bank to a commercial bank. He is convinced that Parallex Bank limited will achieve more as the bank partners with customers to explore more business opportunities.

Mr Olufemi said the vision of Parallex Bank is to be the preferred financial solution provider redefining customer experience through innovation. He assured customers of excellent banking products and services stating that the bank offerings are designed to address the yearnings of Nigerians. With a strong ecosystem anchored around the customer, Mr Femi informed the guests that the bank has a robust product portfolio that is customer focused, innovative and simple.

According to him, the Parallex mobile app has unique features and benefits that are quite rare in this market. On the app, customers can choose to create their unique account numbers, increase their transfer limits, make five free transfers per day to any bank in Nigeria. They can request for free debit cards, which will be delivered to them for free. They will receive prompt responses to enquiries.

Beyond the app, Mayor added that customers will enjoy zero maintenance fees while current account holders will further enjoy up to 5% interest rate provided, they maintain a minimum average balance of N100,000.

 

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Banking Sector

Stanbic IBTC Seeks Approval to Establish a Fintech Subsidiary

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Stanbic IBTC - investorsking.com

In a bid to cut costs and turn around its declining profitability, Stanbic IBTC Holdings Plc has announced plans to seek regulatory approval for the establishment of a Fintech subsidiary.

The new financial services unit will be called Stanbic IBTC Financial Services Limited, the bank disclosed in a statement signed by Chidi Okezie, Company Secretary and seen by Investors King.

This is coming a few days after Standard Chartered Bank announced it was shutting down 50 percent of its Nigerian branches in a move to digitalise operations and reduce operating costs.

According to Stanbic IBTC, the new fintech company will operate as a Payment Solution Service Provider (PSSP) upon regulatory approvals, including licensing by the Central Bank of Nigeria.

Stanbic IBTC Holdings Plc reported a 40 percent decline in profit in the first nine months of 2021, its lowest in four years. Profit after tax dropped from N66.2 Billion reported in 2020 to N39.9 billion in 2021. Profit before tax also dipped by 41 percent from N76.9 billion in 2020 to N45.3 billion in 2021.

Dr. Demola Sogunle, Chief Executive Officer of Stanbic IBTC, who commented on the bank’s performance and plans for the future in October 2021, hinted at the bank’s plans to go digital and restructure some of its key units.

He said “in line with our core value of delivering value to our shareholders, the restructuring will advance the execution of our digital business transformation and enable us to achieve accelerated future readiness for the business and growth through effective mining of the client ecosystems propelled by a future-ready workforce. We continue to make progress in supporting the financial needs of our communities in the third quarter of 2021. Investing to advance tree planting exercise, youth, and women empowerment through donations, sponsorships and partnerships, library upgrade and renovation, hospital unit refurbishment, amongst others.”

As expected, using financial technology to deliver banking services would help Stanbic access the unbanked population, improve quality of service, enhance delivery and most importantly cut costs across the board.

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