Mbinkar Kpunsa Fomunyuy. (CCSP, CICSP, AMABE, CMP)

Certified Bank customer service professional of the Retail banking Academy

CEO, Institute of Customer Service Cameroon

In every industry there is a trend, trends drive growth and as the leading firms take the lead, followers follow. This continues until the new trends become routine and the process starts again.

The UK Consulting firm Capgemini (2016) in its publication on Top 10 trends in banking for 2017, reinforces the notion of digital transformation of banks as a key trend in 2017. This digital transformation is marked by Fintech, using open APIs, public cloud services and cognitive banking.

The customers’ needs are changing and in a fast changing tech environment, it is time for banks to meet the customers at their comfort zones. Banks are moving from traditional branch banking to complete digital packages that enable their clients to perform their routine banking activities from the comfort of their rooms, as they move without need for a physical banking branch.

Bank digital transformation has obvious advantages and cannot go without setbacks. It is therefore a bridge which if poorly managed, leads to a massive loss of customers but if communicated efficiently, guarantees the achievement of customer success and increased profitability for banks.

Agniva Banerjee in her article on the rise of digital banking, brings out 5 key advantages to which I will add three:

  • Banking made easier: You bank from anywhere, no need to move all you need is an    internet connection.
  • High interest rates on your savings, lower interest rates on loans: As bank reduces infrastructures and overhead cost.
  • Advanced websites and Mobile banking software: making information more available and personalized.
  • Mobility of services: possibility to integrate other solutions such as bills payments. So you don’t only need to go to a bank branch anymore, also you do not need to go to an utility company.
  • Eco-friendly: As it saves paper and protects the environments

To these, I will add:

  • Improved customer experience: as your complaints now are tracked and you have more reliable and instant information
  • Easier financial management as you move with your bank track your finances.
  • Security of not moving with cash but virtual money

The setbacks?

  • Bank branches will be closed
  • Bank staff will lose their jobs
  • Interaction with bank will be more digital than physical reducing the personal human touch.
  • Security becomes a concern, as this requires more instruction and online security awareness tips.

The overall advantage of digitalization of banks is; making banking easier, improving customer experience and achieving higher customer success. This will lead to having more satisfied customers and increased profitability.

Stefan M., Dela R., Malbate J., Jaubert M. (2014) in an  A.T. Kearney study on digitization, in conjunction with Efma, present 3 key points: the digital banking leaders understand the importance of mobile in a digital strategy, they are developing more agile operating models, and, most notably, they are tackling the need for internal culture shifts.

Bank digital transformation needs a top-down implementation. Banks accepting and putting in place this change have set their paths toward becoming more client-centric, more tech-savvy, and more inclusive. As the market evolves even more rapidly through the end of the decade, all banks will have to adapt to a disruptive model in people and IT-the two engines of retail banking; and must fundamentally adapt to deliver the best results.

Banks in Cameroon have not been left out of this transformation with key actors of Digital Transformation being Ecobank Cameroon S.A., UBA and Afriland First Bank. Communication of this transformation is key, first internally, next to all clients of the bank and lastly to the general public.

Digital transformation could enable the bank to reposition itself among its peers, but this disruptive model meets resistance, rumors but above all if well managed, gives rise to the creation of better banks.

Cameroon is long overdue as the digital transformation of banks is but a must-do. The way money is managed in Cameroon is changing with cash going plastic and mobile money technologies outsmarting traditional money transfer systems. The digital transformation of banks is on. Customer experience is about to get even better.


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