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Standard Chartered launches second wave of digital-only retail banks

Standard Chartered launches second wave of digital-only retail banks

Standard Chartered has initiated the second phase of its digital-only retail bank across Africa, and will launch its digital solution in four key markets during Q1 of 2019 starting in Uganda in January, followed by Tanzania in February, with Ghana and Kenya to follow.

According to a statement by the company, the second phase builds on the original CDI platform following the successful launch of its first digital retail bank in Côte d'Ivoire in 2018.

"The updated digital bank provides enhanced services including QR code and P2P payments, loan and overdraft facilities, and instant fixed deposits. Clients will be able to enjoy the convenience of banking on the go, anytime and anywhere, along with a consistent online experience," the company stated.

Sunil Kaushal, Regional CEO, Africa and Middle East said: "We are thrilled to launch the second phase of our digital-only retail banks across other African markets. The Bank continues to make strategic and sustainable investments in technology – this complements our innovation agenda, as well as enhances our digital offerings and client experiences. Digitising Africa and facilitating access to financial services remains at the heart of our business strategy for the region."

Standard Chartered says Africa's banking market is the second-fastest-growing and second-most profitable globally.

The retail banking sector is a locus of new business models which are emerging in response to low levels of banking penetration and heavy use of cash in the Sub-Saharan continent, it added.

Commenting on the launch of the digital bank in Uganda, Governor, Central Bank Governor Prof. Emmanuel Mutebile said "There will continue to be disruption in the Banking sector. Institutions that fail to keep up might lose out and at the very worst be pushed out of business in the long run, however, this disruption to bank business models works in the interest of customers and the general populace. I therefore congratulate Standard Chartered Bank on unveiling this revolutionary digital initiative as I believe that with such innovations, we are making significant progress in embracing technological changes and digitization to help us achieve stable and long-term growth."

The role of tech innovation, specifically ICT and mobile technologies, to expand financial inclusion remains a topic of much debate in Africa.

At the second symposium of the Financial Inclusion Global Initiative (FIGI), organised by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) in Egypt on 22 January 2019, the issue dominated discussion.

According to the ITU 1.7 billion adults still do not have access to a bank account, while 1.1 billion of them have a mobile phone.

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