HF Group launches Kenya's first WhatsApp banking solution

By Victor Amadala, Kenya

Kenya’s mortgage lender HF Group has launched a WhatsApp banking solution to offer customized mobile banking services to its customers, becoming the first bank in Africa to commercially go live with this product.

The firm partnered with Infobip, cloud communication company, Wayawaya, Kocela and Myriad to implement actualize the innovation.

The implementation allows customers to interact with the bank through WhatsApp for functions such as virtual account opening, funds transfers, loans, bill payments, goods purchases among other services.

Speaking during the launch at a Nairobi hotel yesterday, HF Group CEO Robert Kibaara said the platform will offer customers a more personal, intuitive and efficient way to engage with them on chat.

‘’This capability we are pioneering enables HF’s customers to manage their banking needs within their WhatsApp chat with the same efficiency as services obtained at our branches and other digital banking platforms,’’ Kibaara said.

He added that customers’ expectations are constantly changing and it is the bank’s duty to ensure that they are provided with the means to initiate or carry out banking services through any channel they desire wherever they are conveniently.

To subscribe to this service, customers are required to save the bank’s WhatsApp phone number – meaning access to the chat is granted on an individual and personalized basis.

Speaking during the event, Infobip MD Rachel Njiru said by combining the interactive platform with Artificial intelligence (AI), enables businesses to scale their offerings to keep abreast with customer changing preferences.

‘’Enhancing the customer experience is a goal that all big companies should strive to achieve, and we’re thrilled that HF Group was one of the first financial institutions that recognized this opportunity in Kenya,’’ she said.

This new channel is part of HF’s digital banking strategy as it strives to correct its negative revenue position through through technological efficiency.

Kenya tops the list of African countries with ease of access to financial services thanks in part to its high uptake of mobile money, placing the country ahead of economic giants such as South Africa, Nigeria, and Ghana.

At least 74 per cent of Kenya’s population is using WhatsApp according to the Jumia Kenya Mobile Report 2019.

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