Half of Standard Chartered’s Nigeria Branches Will Be Closed
Standard Chartered Plc is liquidating nearly half of its Nigerian branches as part of a shift to digital banking.
According to a document reviewed by Bloomberg News, the London-listed lender’s local unit began closing several offices in December and will eventually operate only 13 branches in the West African country, down from approximately 25 previously.
According to the sources, Standard Chartered is bolstering mobile banking and recruiting agents to reach out to new customers and manage cash deposits and withdrawals across Africa’s largest economy. They asked not to be identified because they aren’t authorized to speak publicly.
The bank declined to comment and said it will address future plans at the “proper time,” according to a spokeswoman.
StanChart’s move reflects efforts by Nigerian institutions to embrace digital banking amid a fintech boom that has pushed much of Africa to the forefront of the mobile money revolution. Rather of creating additional physical branches, banks such as Access Bank Plc and First Bank of Nigeria are cutting expenses by establishing networks of approved agents, or persons who sell their products and services within communities.
Since establishing a foothold in Nigeria in 1999, Standard Chartered has focused on corporate banking. However, it has recently moved to expand its retail base, setting a goal for 2019 of five folding its customer base from 100,000 to 500,000 in around two years by utilizing digital technologies to on-board consumers faster.
According to the persons, the lender also aims to launch digital lending to process small loans faster and expand the volume of retail credit.
With a population of more than 200 million people, more than a third of whom do not have access to financial services, Nigeria has seen a surge in demand for payment solutions and financing outside of traditional banking as businesses capitalize on the increasing use of mobile phones. Customers wanted to avoid personal touch during the pandemic, which helped financial technology companies.