Covid19 pandemic has exposed digital adoption and preparedness in the Kenyan banking scene. The Kenya Bankers Association first #CEOChat of quarter two discussion zeroed on enhancing financial services access through digital platforms. My Chat with a Bank CEO is a forum by Kenya Bankers Association where Bank CEOs engage social media users with Friday’s session hosted by Citibank CEO Martin Mugambi.
Mr. Mugambi begins by noting that the COVID19 pandemic has changed the way we live, work, bank, and relate to each other. According to Mugambi, digital platforms encompass apps, mobile banking, platforms that use APIs, smart digital tools, including AI and data-led tools, that remove friction in banking. This implies everything relating to how customers virtually interact with their banking partners and other ecosystems.
For instance, Mugambi says, “retail customer support is not limited to just call centers, we have the ability to solve serve clients’ needs through intelligent digital platforms that use data and automated solutions. I would say automated or self-service banking is the new normal of retail service models”.
Numerous customers remain concerned about the security of their funds and data as Kenyan banks digitize and automate their processes. Mugambi reassures clients that security is at the front and center for all customers when transacting and banks are placing significant efforts on cybersecurity to ensure the platforms are safe and fit for purpose.
A good example of security measures involves a two-step login process to authenticate and validate access. However, Mugambi stresses that consumers need to be vigilant in not sharing PINs or passwords with others, and taking precautions with their mobile devices and financial information. The KBA KAA CHONJO campaign teaches customers how to safeguard and protect themselves while banking digitally.
GOING FORWARD – POST COVID BANKING
Mr. Mugambi believes that automated or self-service banking is the new normal. The pandemic will change banking in material ways forever. Banking will not be a physical construct and financial services will not only be provided by banks. Tailored financial solutions, frictionless payments, online marketplaces, and digital service centers are some of the innovations that will be the new norm for banking.
APIs or application programming interfaces are the next smart way in which banks will interface with their corporate customers beyond host to host applications. APIs are resilient and safe because you expose them to partners in a managed ecosystem. For instance, some bank APIs connect to SWIFT, ERPs and other corporate files to exchange data in a secure environment.
Currently, banks are working to ensure customers survive the pandemic such as restructuring of loans for personal and corporate customers, providing working capital for SMEs, waiving of bank charges to facilitate mobile payment transactions. All bank to bank PesaLink transaction fees have been waived. Customers also have a variety of digital payment options to mitigate the use of cash or visits to banking halls.