Understanding the digital banking revolution

Ugo Aliogo highlights digital banking revolution in Nigeria

Think about some of the early digital transformations – from music and movies, to meetings, conferences and even how we store information. Think about how all of these things and more have now moved to the “cloud”. Transformations from old and large physical forms such as audio tapes, video cassettes, paper files, hard drives are now preferably handled on the web, where there is literally no limit. Likewise, today, banks have given us the power to carry them in our pockets, without the need for physical structures such as bank branches. Aside from the fact that Nigeria’s old traditional banks are now expanding their offerings to provide digital services, we are now seeing such a take-off among newer digital-only banks, essentially ‘branchless’ banks, which offer the possibility of accessing digital services. daily banking services. services quickly, easily and securely.

The aftermath of the COVID-19 outbreak has plunged Nigeria’s banking industry into massive digital disruption, as consumers began to demand more efficient ways to access and conduct financial transactions outside of physical structures . In fact, many Nigerians now find it a daunting task to stand in line at a bank branch just to sort out basic transaction needs. Another factor driving the adoption of digital banking is our young population, which increasingly uses financial services in modern ways. Online payments are made on the go, and utility subscriptions are generally automated and should be transparent.

Visit a branch or take the branch with you

The disruption in the banking industry is part of what prompted Branch, a leading digital finance app, to deliver better value to customers who are not only excluded but underserved in the financial services delivery space. In Nigeria, a high percentage of the population is financially excluded, with data showing that 36% of Nigerian adults, or 38 million adults, remained completely financially excluded at the end of 2020 (Source). This is the case, not only because of the widespread poverty in the country, but also because the processes required to access their bank’s services (e.g. loans) are just too stressful and complicated for most people. middle and low income.

In most cases, these barriers to financial inclusion exclude low- and middle-income people, whose financial activities still contribute significantly to the country’s economy, but cannot benefit from the services to which they should be entitled. . This category of the population, which is most in need of support banks in its business and personal finances, is bound to collapse under the weight of hidden fees, incessant deductions, money transfer limits and errors. in basic transactions. To top it off, they waste precious hours in traditional bank branches every time they try to solve a problem.

A “branchless” bank that does things differently

Essentially, Branch is a bank in your pocket or wherever you keep your phone. Whatever your bank can do for you, you can do it much faster, easier, and cheaper as long as you have a smartphone. At the end of the day, massive office buildings and ubiquitous bank branches don’t really meet the needs of their customers. If, as a customer of a bank, you had the opportunity to apply for a small loan in the comfort of your own room, rather than sitting for hours in a crowded bank branch and filling out endless forms, you would probably choose this option. This is just one of the many problems Branch solves for millions of users in Nigeria and other countries.

Here are some areas where Branch stands out by meeting real customer needs.

● By providing a digitized and easily accessible lending process that is both reliable and considerate to borrowers, Branch meets clients’ needs at their point of emergency – without the need to visit a physical bank building. Additionally, Branch maintains an ethical debt collection policy, which sticks to a non-aggressive debt collection practice and non-humiliation of borrowers. This characteristic relieves the average Nigerian, who usually approach loans with a great deal of trepidation and anxiety, even when there is a real need for a loan.

● In addition, data security and privacy are non-negotiable requirements for many Nigerians before opting for a bank. Branch takes this even more seriously with the use of world-class data security and encryption techniques to protect customer data. Additionally, Branch protects all customer data from third parties or data poachers.

● Whenever there is a complaint from a customer, the resolution of that complaint should be quick and personalized. Rather than making customers wait for several business days or requiring a visit to a bank branch, Branch takes responsibility for resolving issues that arise and updating their customers with real-time feedback and recommendations, the all on their phone.

● Finally, Branch stands out in its offer to customers. Once you have the Branch app, you get free and unlimited transfers from the Branch wallet, instant loans up to N500,000, no charge bill payments, and a tantalizing investment that earns 20% money back. interest per year.

The enormous benefits of this “branchless” bank make it clear that the future of banking lies in the ability of today’s banks to take advantage of modern technologies to provide true financial solutions to all categories of people.

Rosalie M. Dehner