Headlines like these are akin to the tech age we now live and we ought to see more. So Stanchart (Standard Chartered Bank Zimbabwe) has been on a quest to harness the power of technology in its banking operations. Stanchart is one of the few international banks operating on the African continent. Since last year they have been rolling out full digitalization initiatives which started off in Cote d’Ivoire and now Zimbabwe. This is majorly premised on their appreciation of how widespread mobile services are here. I’m sure they took cue from the fact that Ecocash takes up about 95% of the local mobile money market. So this obviously sets a precedent for effective implementation of full digitalization in banking through leveraging on mobile phone and mobile money usage.

Mobile App-Based Tech

Stanchart has developed a new interactive mobile app. I guess you might know that other banks do have mobile apps but Stanchart takes it much further. The app has many more functions that are at the moment exclusive to just them. Suppose you want to change your proof residence (quite common considering people are relocating a lot due to various circumstances). Instead of having to go to the bank to sort that out you can take a picture of your new proof of residence and upload it to the bank following prompts on the app. You can even open new accounts using the app or even do local, regional or international financial transactions. The app is available for download on the Android and iOS stores.

Partnering With Econet

The bank has entered into a partnership with the largest mobile telecoms service provider, Econet. Essentially Econet shall whitelist the Standard Chartered Mobile App. In case you’re wondering, whitelisting entails granting exclusive access to particular protocols. In this case, it means even without data people will still be able to access the full functionality of the app. This is a very important part of this as it allows access at all times.

Creating Value For The Customer

The crux of this innovation is offering clients the flexibility and convenience of doing their banking from anywhere. This is a game changer which allays the pains of having to go the bank physically (sometimes having to stand in queues). Having to go to the bank can be a loss of valuable time that can be spent doing other more pertinent things. The bank has indicated that if clients need remote assistance there’ll be options for assistance by video, voice call or chat platforms. With respect to verification processes that might need particular documents, clients will use their mobile phones to take images or scan and sent them through.

Obviously, in matters of mobile banking security issues come to the fore. Just how secure will this mobile app-based innovation be? Well, Stanchart has given emphatic guarantees that everything will be secure. This is borne from their confidence in their security structure and mechanisms that they employ. The app enables the use of biometric lock (fingerprint) on capable devices. However, clients will, of course, have a role to play in as far as keeping their login details and phones secure. This means your mobile phone becomes your most closely guarded asset because if someone gets access to it they might gain access to your account. As much as mobile banking is a great innovation you become a target for phishing so you need to become more diligent in your online activity.

I’m glad to know that the bank is also contemplating investing more in analytics. Analytics are central to drawing insights on client behaviour so that you know what and what not to offer plus the how part. So Standard Chartered bank appears to be quite vested in wanting to understand their clients better so that they create even more value for them.

Digitalization Hypothetically Poses Threats Of Job Losses. Is That So In This Case?

According to the bank authorities, their approach is quite interesting. Instead of relieving some of the workers of their jobs they are rather going to pop breaks on hiring more. The present staff will be retrained where needs be to adjust to new roles brought about by this innovation. They are going to focus on actually using the innovation as a premise to avail more of its staff to customers to address their needs. The bank actually believes going fully digital annihilates the need for burdensome paperwork. Thus in a certain sense, they believe that the innovation will create more value and be more rewarding for the work structure and environment of its employees. This is an idea that has been pursued in international banking for years now. By using machines, which are only getting smarter, to process the rudimentary tasks employees are freed up for higher level and higher value tasks. In this case they will have staff dealing with corporate and high-value clients.

So that’s the story for Standard Chartered bank which I’m sure will be an inspiration to other banks. Moving with the times is what will establish this nation firmly in this rapidly changing digital age. Out of necessity Africa is leading the way when it comes to mobile banking and mobile money globally.