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ANALYSIS: Banking At The Speed Of Technology

By Lloyd Jonathan Busuulwa, the Head Alternative Channels at dfcu Bank

There is a 100% chance that you are reading this text off your phone or computer in this instant.

Technology continues to disrupt how we interact with our immediate and external environment. 

In line with the Uganda Communications Commission industry report as of September 2020, total internet subscriptions had, for the primary time in industry history, crossed the 20-million mark.

This has been bolstered by the penetration of mobile phones within the country that reached 20 million subscribers in line with a report by online retailer Jumia detailing mobile trends within the country by end of last year. This exceptional performance is especially attributed to the shifting work culture caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, which led many businesses to adopt remote working methods.

Penetration of smartphones across the continent is predicted to grow to over 690 million handsets by 2025 consistent with the report as prices of devices still drop: thanks largely to the influx of cheap Chinese branded smartphones on the market. In today’s economy, scores of people use mobile devices to manage their finance, and therefore the number continues to accelerate. Why? Mobile banking technology and services provide unparalleled convenience.

With the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, financial institutions have re-engineered processes, innovated and deployed new solutions to facilitate business continuity considering the changing customer preferences and industry trends. Most financial institutions realize that agility is of the essence. 

The flexibility to work out market trends, adjust strategies, innovate, create new solutions, make tactical decisions, and deploy resources quickly provides a business advantage at a time of unprecedented change. Even before COVID-19, leading organizations organized for speed in response to new technologies, consumer behaviors and competitive trends.

With consumers adjusting the way they perform banking transactions and manage their finances, and with technology opening the door for leveraging data and insights in real-time, the stakes for ‘being fast’ haven’t been higher.

Currently, there’s rapid adoption of digital operating models like Artificial Intelligence (AL) that include Chatbots and Robotics which drive predictive deciding. These innovations dig deeper into customer behavior and help banks grow and retain their customer bases. Banks have also dramatically moved to cloud base storage.

The demand for digital-based solutions has gained momentum as they provide convenience and easy accessibility to customers. They also benefit financial institutions in several ways.

In 2017, dfcu bank launched its digital transformation journey. The Bank’s aspiration is to become a digitally-led bank (Bank 4.0); with the flexibility to bank Everyone, Everywhere and at any time within 5 years. The Bank’s digital strategy has been born from this aspiration, ultimately calling for increased investment in Technology, Infrastructure, Software, Applications and Human Capital.

Right from the start, dfcu’s objectives were clear, becoming a Digital Bank of Choice, migrating the bulk of Customer Transactions from the Branch to Alternative Channels and Promoting Financial Inclusion.

The evidence within the cost reduction is indisputable- the improved product modifications and more efficient systems have led to a rise in the volume of transactions and growth in revenue made using Alternative Channels. The 24/7 availability and accessibility of these channels has also contributed to customer growth and retention, consequently leading to profitability for the Bank.

We believe that the longer term is bright for both us and our customers; we’ve set the ball rolling and that we only shall stop when each of our clients’ needs are met; fast safely and seamlessly.

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