I have recently travelled to five East African countries and made a few observations in business, specifically the banking sector. It became apparent that no single bank enjoys sole dominance in any of these economies- Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi and South Sudan.
There are two distinct factors that will cause financial service providers to either adapt or be completely irrelevant. Competition and changing consumer demands. Competition in the banking sector is extremely stiff. You fail to change with times, and you become history within a very short while. I venture that Technology and innovation have the potential to immensely improve customer experience thereby earning customer loyalty. This is what businesses are made to do. The Focus has to be the Customer. – adding value while making money. Business is brutal: – We live in an ever-changing business landscape. Only those businesses that will adapt- by developing innovative products and services will thrive.
It is clear to all and sundry that customers hate long queues. Long queues add nothing positive but sap energy and waste time for everyone. Making a banking transaction need not be a gruesome experience. Sadly, this is the case in this part of the world. The only way for banks to have a competitive edge and reduce endless queues is to embrace cashless banking. The immense power of technology through the Internet and the mobile phone have not been fully exploited I’m afraid. Here is a huge opportunity for banks and other financial institutions: – m-banking and Internet banking both have been poorly thought out and marketed in this region. In some parts of Europe, I’m made to understand, online banking is being offered as a free value-add service. It is not charged. Here in the east Africa region, fewer banks have a robust on-line banking solution.
The future of banking is mobile. The future of transaction payment is mobile. The question is which institutions are getting it right? The jury is out, while the market is ripe with opportunities.
The fact that the new Samsung Galaxy S III phone (which is being touted as a real threat to the IPhone) has NFC technology, is evidence that mobile payment will remain to be a key area of growth in the next decade. We thank Safaricom for innovation in Mpesa ( Mobile Money), but financial institutions must surely give us more innovative banking solutions and products.
What do you think? Leave a comment here.