Standard Chartered Bank has predicted a drastic revolution in the banking industry, where traditional bank branches will be replaced by financial technology (FINTECH) applications and other products and services.
The revolution is the next phase in the history of the banking sector and its success will be largely driven by the changing taste of customers for speed and convenience in financial intermediation.
At its peak, the bank’s Head of Retail Banking for Ghana and West Africa, Mr Henry Baye, said at a media briefing in Accra yesterday that customers would no longer want to walk into branches to transact businesses but would prefer to do all transactions in the comfort of their homes and offices.
This should render bank branches a needless investment, he said at the media briefing on September 12.
“In the next few years, we are going to see such a drastic shift in the way banking is done. In fact, the change will be such that some will not recognise how banking is done,” he said, citing technology and changing tastes of customers of the key drivers.
“The truth is that as banks, we will not be doing justice to ourselves if we continue doing banking business the way we have always done it.
“A time is coming where, when you build branches, nobody will go there. The simple reason nobody will go there is because nobody will need to go to a branch to be able to do banking services,” he said that at the event meant to update the media on the bank’s digital banking.
“I think that reality is the point that if you continue building brick and mortar, you will be building facilities that nobody will simply go to and no smart business person will do that,” he said.
Caution to banks
As a bank that has been at the forefront of innovation, Mr Baye said StanChart was already preparing itself for this phase of banking.
He thus advised counterpart bankers and the banks in particular to prepare for the stage, given its direct implications the profitability of the players.
He said StanChart’s preparation included retraining, orienting and equipping staff with the necessary expertise to be able to play significant roles in a transformed banking sector.
“For staff of banks, I think this shift creates an entirely new opportunity. That opportunity is that the typical, mundane transaction processes that people are being employed out of school to come do will no longer be done, then it creates a window for them to get into another form of banking such as advisory, investment and other relationship management,” he said.
He explained that the bank was now aiming at building a strong interface between technology and skills of staff to ensure that “we are maximising the skills and education of the people we employ.”
“The idea is to ensure that when they come to work, they are not just coming to do transaction processing but they are actually coming to add value to the lives of our clients,” he explained.
On whether or not such changes will lead to job losses, Mr Baye said: “It is not something you can say without the specifics of any project in hand.”
The bank’s Regional Head of Retail Banking for Africa and the Middle East, Mr Jaydeep Gupta, said StanChart was committed to ensuring that the transformation in the banking sector positively affected its staff and customers.
He said the bank was constantly in touch with its technology partners to be able to stay relevant using modern day technology products and services.
He said the bank had resolved to increase investments in the digital drive to help maximise value and minimise costs.