Stanbic Bank Uganda’s ‘Now-Now loans’ and FlexiPay, have won the lender international recognition for ‘Best Innovation in Retail Banking.’
The award by the London based International Banker Magazine, is open to banks worldwide and recognise top-ranking individuals and organisations setting new benchmarks for performance and pushing the boundaries within the financial industry.
In winning the ‘Best Innovation in Retail Banking Award’ Stanbic Bank reaped from its recent mobile and digital banking innovations that enabled its prequalified customers to access unsecured personal loans within five minutes using a USSD code on their phones.
The innovation proved timely during the lengthy lockdowns of the Covid-19 Pandemic that saw branches closed and movements restricted, according to Miriam Naigembe, Stanbic Bank’s Executive Head for Client Solutions.
“At the time, we launched the instant loans through a lending campaign “Now-Now” which enabled customers to apply and get loans within three minutes off their mobile phones—this innovation was an instant hit among customers and has seen the volumes of digitally disbursed credit gain double digit growth over the last two years. On average mobile banking which is based on USSD technology averages over a million transactions per month,” said Naigembe.
FlexiPay, the lender’s other innovation, is a digital cash wallet that allows users to, among others, pay utility bills such as water and electricity without being charged; it also allows Stanbic Bank customers to move money between wallet and bank account.
“Even before the pandemic, we knew that the future of banking is digital and this is the thinking behind our product development efforts—customers will continue to seek banking services but the channels through which we deliver to them keep evolving,” said Naigembe.
Today, digital banking channels account for over 90 per cent of Stanbic Bank’s total transactions with traffic to branches significantly dropping over the last two years, ceding space to alternative channels such as agent, mobile, FlexiPay and internet banking.