• Thursday, December 07, 2023
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‘Standard Chartered Bank is excited by Nigeria’s long-term potential’



Will there be more injection of capital and investments in Nigeria through Standard Chartered Bank?

At ‘Africa 100’, that is the Africa Investor Day (hosted in London in the second half of 2012) Standard Chartered Bank (SCB) committed USD 100million of investment to add another 100 outlets to our existing branch network by 2015, which will bring our total number of outlets to more than 250. Majority of these branches will be opened in Nigeria, Ghana and Kenya. Nigeria will more than double its branch footprint between 2011 and 2015

Africa is a core part of the Bank’s Group Strategic Intent, with more than 180 branches in 16 African countries (15 sub-Saharan) and over 7,000 staff. The Bank’s economic contribution to Africa has been the culmination of 150 years of sustained and increasing investment in the region.

We are in a position of strength. The investments we have made in our distribution channels, in our products, our services, our people and our systems are realising immediate value. We continue to differentiate our brand and have confidence in our strategy for long-term, sustainable growth.

Standard Chartered remains well capitalised. In every country in Africa, our capital position is above the regulatory minimum for each country.

With world-class suites of products, services, distribution channels and systems, the Bank provides customers with increasingly sophisticated and pioneering banking services – unrivalled in Africa.

You launched a new banking platform called Straight 2 Bank, what is about

Straight2Bank is a fully integrated global online banking solution that helps to add value to businesses. It is a tool to efficiently execute and monitor cash management, transaction and trade finance. It also offers a wide range of payment solution on a single platform, including domestic transfer, international transfer, payroll etc

Why is Straight 2 Bank being launched now

We have witnessed a huge increase in demand for remote banking services as customers want to be able to do all banking activities on the go and at their own convenience. Huge increase in usage of smartphones enables us to deliver a richer banking experience on the go

At Standard Chartered, our aspiration is to be the ‘main digital bank’ – having a superior digital offering is a key component of that as it provides customers with a superior, convenient, personalised and seamless banking experience.

Our focus is to provide banking with convenience for our customers. Today’s consumers are tech-savvy and mobile. They want banking that not only meets their financial needs but also anticipates them. We believe that technology has to be useful, intuitive and most importantly seamless; we continue to transform our business and invest for long-term growth, with a focus on digital technologies that we believe will shape the future of banking.

The Straight2Bank platform revolves around the customer. With enhanced security features, Straight2Bank offers both flexibility and peace-of-mind for our esteemed customers. Digitisation has become the benchmark for success globally and we want to lead the way in this regard.

What benefits will users get from Straight 2 Bank

One is comprehensiveness. Straight2Bank is a fully integrated solution with complete reporting and transaction initiation for cash and trade. Cross-border and intra-day reporting is available on this single platform for all accounts throughout Standard Chartered’s network.

It is convenient, it provides a viable alternative to banking at the branch. It allows global access and usage therefore enables cross border trading wherever the user is 24/7.

It is secure, Straight2Bank uses the highest level of security available in the market today. All communications between the client’s browser and Straight2Bank are fully encrypted using 128-bit SSL encryption and authenticated with our world-class Global Trust Infrastructure (GTI) process that meets the Identrus standard. Since it is Internet-based, there is no need to install software at the client’s site, or work through software compatibility issues. The users will have access to a file upload and download feature as well as a file conversion utility to facilitate exchange of data between Straight2Bank and their ERP systems.

During the campaign period, we are going to reward our customers who sign-up to and/or transact through our Straight2Bank platform. Concessions will be given to SME customers in particular who transact through Straight2Bank during the campaign period.

With Standard Chartered Bank new head office building and new branches, the bank apparently is set for growth in Nigeria; do you have any plans of acquiring or merging with another bank

We are very excited about our new head office project. Our recent investment of $76million on an ultra modern Head Office complex is also a definite sign of commitment.The first occupants are expected to move in from Early December 2013.The Nigeria franchise is building a strong track record of performance and has the capability to deliver on its potential and aspiration. Nigeria was a star performing country in SCB Group in 2012. Injecting $147million capital into Nigeria in 2005 was a significant investment and demonstrated Standard Chartered’s commitment to one of Africa’s major growth markets.

Standard Chartered Bank is excited by the long-term potential of Nigeria and the re-capitalization is closely aligned to our bank’s growth strategy for Africa. A successful Nigeria will enable us to be well-positioned to support the business opportunities in Africa’s fastest growing economy with our international expertise and global network.

What is Standard Chartered’s consumer Banking Strategy in Nigeria

The strategy is to support small to medium enterprises (SMEs). Our loans to SMEs grew year on year by 117 percent., this was on the back of our revamped value proposition and increased focus on sectors such as manufacturing and Oil& Gas. In 2012, we launched the first purpose built SME centre at Opebi Lagos, which is essentially a hub for Relationship Managers specifically dedicated to serving our SME clients. We also continue to support local SMEs through trainings and workshops.

Consumer banking and access to Finance

The Consumer Bank has grown at a Cumulative Average Growth Rate of 22% against the general industry average of 15 percent. We currently serve over 64,000 customers across both its Retail and SME segments. Over the past year, our customer centric approach and best in class product offering have further enabled us deliver revenue growth of 16 percent while customer deposits and loans to customers grew by 21 percent and 48 percent respectively.

Expanding our physical footprint remains top on our priority. We currently have 36 branches spread across the major commercial cities in Nigeria.

The business is also focused on enhancing its digital banking capabilities – Self-service lobbies (comprising ATMs, internet access for i-banking and phone boxes for direct call centre access) have been introduced at many branches. We also enhanced the functionalities of our online banking platform and currently have a ‘best in class’ platform.

How does this come in line with your global Consumer banking strategy

This comes as part of the Bank’s global focus on ‘Digitisation’ and adoption of technology, notably online and mobile banking. Also, it allows us to extend our reach to our SME customers given limitations in terms of distribution network. Online and Mobile Banking represent an opportunity for us to increase our reach by allowing customers to bank with us wherever they are and whenever they want.