The Standard Chartered Bank of Nigeria, the local division of London –headquartered multinational banking and financial services firm Standard Chartered Plc, is discontinuing the operation of about 50 percent of its branches in Nigeria. This is a step targeting prioritization of digital banking, Bloomberg reported on Monday, citing insiders.
The closure teed off in December, which means just 13 branches of the bank will be up and running ultimately, compared to about 25 operating before the move, according to the news outlet.
Lenders are deploying mobile money services on a vast scale in Nigeria to tap the market of the unbanked population comprising approximately 38 million adults, which Dataphyte estimated t be worth N26.2 trillion for the first 11 months of last year.
However, formidable competition from mushrooming fintech companies rave-like Standard Chartered Bank could struggle to gain traction.
The bank is now firming up mobile banking operations at the same time enlisting agents to expand its clientele, according to people who spoke on condition of anonymity.
A Standard Chartered Bank spokesperson did not respond to an e-mail from PREMIUM TIMES seeking comments.
The lender has centred on excluded communities. its operations on corporate banking since it launched in the country but is giving increasing attention to retail banking, which has led to the introduction of digital lending aimed at easing access to soft loans and ramping up the size of retail credit.
Many banks, including big lenders, see agency banking as a cost-saving alternative to setting up branches and a veritable strategy suitable for reaching rural areas and financially excluded communities.