COMMERCIAL BANKING

Nigeria 2018 | FINANCE | B2B

Though traditional bedrock services must still be employed to drive growth, digitalization is fast becoming a requisite for major players.

Demola Sogunle
DEMOLA SOGUNLE
CEO
Stanbic IBTC Bank
Adam Nuru
ADAM NURU
Managing Director
FCMB

How have your operations evolved over time?

DEMOLA SOGUNLE Stanbic IBTC Bank started in 1989, at which point we were a compact and well-focused investment bank, only doing wholesale on the corporate banking side. We did not have any branch networks and were not doing retail banking, but using other commercial banks as our clearing banks. We have evolved significantly since then, especially when the banking industry went through recapitalization and consolidation. It was during this period that we acquired the legacy Chartered Bank and Regent Bank, two pure retail banks, and thus gained retail banking capability. Our branch network also expanded with the acquisition, giving us over 60 branches. In 2007, Stanbic Bank acquired the majority stake in the legacy IBTC, which is how we became Stanbic IBTC Bank, another milestone in the evolution of the group. We decided to stick with the universal banking approach rather than the narrow banking approach that most banks have in Nigeria.

ADAM NURU Our long-term strategy as a bank is to be the top retail-led commercial bank of choice. This mindset is what guides our approach to business, and customers will always play a pivotal role in this regard. The approach is twofold; on the one hand, we have our customers and need to understand how to connect with them using innovation and technology to add value to their business. On the other hand, we need to consolidate on the successful strides and achievements we have garnered over the years by leveraging innovation. Every day I am constantly thinking of different ways to offer the same banking service to our customers in a manner that is unique, simple, and affordable while we continue to delight them across all service touch points. This is why we have a handful of strategic partnerships with the government for SMEs and are one of the first banks to sign a MoU with the CBN as a participating financial institution for the CBN MSME Fund. We have disbursed over NGN3 billion in funds to SMEs in the manufacturing sector alone.

What is your growth strategy?

DS For the past three years, digitalization has been a primary strategy of the bank. This will be the case for the coming years, too. We want to achieve digitalization not only in the front office, but also in the middle and back. We need to ensure our customers can see and experience the next level; therefore, we are making investments in these areas, including our customer relationship management and process flow systems. We have also created a team to work on innovative products and services for our customers. Using this same platform, we can set up our own innovation lab and collaborate with Nigerian universities and start-ups to develop products. It was in this spirit that we developed our app, APPiness. We have reached almost 300,000 downloads in less than nine months and have almost 200,000 active users. This may seem a small number, but our internet banking platform is about seven years old, and the number of customers connected to our internet banking is about half a million. In our retail banking space, we have about 1.6 million customers, and if we can get to 350,000-400,000 of the active customers on our app, we will achieve significant penetration of the active customers, which is important.

AN Technology will be at the forefront of our growth strategy as we continue to distinguish ourselves with customer experience and strengthen our capabilities along all business segments. Our customers must feel they are being treated well and fairly in every transaction. There is also the need to play in key growth sectors of the economy such as agriculture, exports, and manufacturing, and lending both financial and advisory support to small businesses and improving financial inclusion in the retail space. Leveraging innovation is also a key component of our strategy as we ensure that our service touch points are reliable and our alternate channels never fail. I am also pleased to have with me a strong team of dedicated staff who drive the FCMB culture of professionalism and customer excellence forward on a daily basis.