African banking must innovate to compete

Africa’s banks are facing a significant shake up in the face of new competitors and a changing market, and they will have to innovate in order to compete effectively, says Misys.

Speaking after workshops held in Johannesburg for pan-African bankers this week, Alex Bray, Retail Channels Director, Banking at Misys said the continent’s banks were challenged on a number of fronts. “We heard a range of concerns from banks,” he says. “Mainly, these centered on coping with the transition to digital, the need to change their business models, ensuring revenue on transactions and competing with a growing number of non-traditional entrants to the banking market.”

Bray says disruptive digital technologies present a number of opportunities for traditional banks to innovate and compete. “Banks are well placed to harness big data and use it more effectively, in order to customise and tailor their services to meet individual customer needs. If a customer has just had a child, for example, the bank might use the opportunity to promote products such as life insurance and saving for education, which is now relevant to the customer. People respond very positively to services and products that are relevant to them. And big banks have the data advantage because they already possess a wealth of customer information and transactional data.”

Traditional banks can also use omnichannel solutions to ensure a seamless experience for customers across multiple touchpoints, including online self-service, mobile applications and in branches.

In future, Misys expects to see new innovations coming to the fore and being adopted rapidly. “We can expect more use of biometric-based authentication, new mobile apps, and even wearable technologies entering the banking and payment space,” he says.  “To position themselves to benefit from these innovations, banks need to be preparing their systems and operations for change.”

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