PROFESSIONAL services firm Deloitte says 20-million new customers are expected to enter the global banking system in the next three to four years‚ and banks are expected to work hard in innovating solutions in the mobile space to increase penetration.
The company says leading institutions should begin to benefit from their investments in the coming year. Deloitte SA financial services country leader Roger Verster says the company is aware of a local provider working on plans to make the cost of transfers cheaper.
FNB CEO Michael Jordaan concurs‚ pointing out that the future of banking was deeply embedded in the mobile space.
"We believe that lowering the cost of money transfers and payments is key to customer retention and providing customers with a helpful‚ cost-effective banking service‚” says Mr Jordaan.
"Our banking services have to cater for a growing‚ mobile customer base. Our innovations all revolve around achieving this strategy and we have many new products in the pipeline that will save customers money and assist them in convenient banking.”
Nedbank CEO Mike Brown says his bank has built a secure digital highway in order to ensure that customers can transact securely in the mobile space. "In 2012‚ Nedbank announced its intention to lead in digital banking and innovation‚ providing secure‚ easy-to-do banking‚ anytime‚ anywhere. The increasing mobile penetration provides opportunity for greater banking penetration and deepening relationship with existing clients‚” Mr Brown says.
He says new developments on its m-pesa solution will allow a much easier registration process and enable "a more streamlined service for registered users aimed at continuous improvement on the offering and client experience”.
Absa says focus on innovation remains important in ensuring that it is a "go to” bank for its customers. The Barclays-owned bank has launched a product branded Payment Pebble that enables businessman to process payments with a smartphone.
Deloitte’s global MD of financial services Chris Harvey said at the World Economic Forum in Davos there had been interesting debates around the effect of certain mobile banking solutions.
He said there was a view in Kenya that m-pesa had been more successful than in South Africa because the country did not have enough banking infrastructure such as automated teller machines.
On the regulatory front‚ Deloitte’s banking industry outlook for this year says banks that have been frozen by uncertainty in the past year should be in a better position to focus on implementing strategies. However‚ Nedbank‚ Absa and FNB believe that regulatory uncertainty has had little effect on their strategies.
"Nedbank has certainly not been ‘frozen by regulatory uncertainty’. Our capital adequacy is very strong under Basel 2‚ 2.5 or Basel 3 and thus regulation has not changed our strategy of focusing on repositioning Nedbank Retail‚ noninterest revenue growth‚ portfolio tilt and expanding into the rest of Africa‚” says Mr Brown.
Mr Jordaan says there was an element of uncertainty as Basel 3 was finalised‚ and there were some local regulatory issues around unsecured lending and payments that could change. However‚ this did not distract the bank.
"At FNB we aren’t easily ‘frozen’ — our strategy of strong growth‚ innovation and creating a meaningful customer experience remains and we do our best to lobby the local regulators to deliver on our strategy‚” says Mr Jordaan.
Absa says its acquisition of Barclays assets in the rest of the continent was evidence that it had not been distracted.
On interest by foreign banks in Africa‚ Anushuya Gounden‚ head of the Africa desk at Deloitte says it is likely that some foreign banks will continue looking for partnerships with local banks.
Some of these partnerships could take the form of the Nedbank and Ecobank alliance.
On capital‚ Deloitte says many banks in the developed world will grapple with making good returns on capital‚ whereas this will not be an issue for South Africa. © BDlive 2013