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Emerging Trends in the financial service sector3 minutes read

Fintech set to disrupt over $4.7 billion in global financial sector revenue.

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Emerging trends disrupting financial services in Africa
Emerging trends disrupting financial services in Africa. Photo source: Shutterstock

Over the years, the financial sector has evolved and introduced what we now know as fintech – which is simply the application of digital technology to financial services and products. The evolution has been vast, ranging from mobile banking to payment processors, online investment and savings platform, loans and many more. The technologies are endless and it is believed that this is only the beginning. 

According to Goldman Sachs, fintech is set to disrupt over 4.7 billion dollars in global financial sector revenue. Fintech is the change that the financial sector has been waiting for but more innovations are set to disrupt already existing companies and the only way to stand out is to keep track of the incoming trends.

Digital-only banks

We have already seen the start of this with the likes of Prospa, a startup that is changing the way businesses bank by eliminating the need to visit brick and mortar banks, providing free transaction, free delivery of ATM cards, convenient invoice management, quick balance review features, and real-time analytics, all in all, providing better customer experience virtually. Thanks to digital banks, visits to brick and mortar banks are set to drop by almost 40% in 2022.

Digital banks are disrupting traditional brick & mortar banks
Digital Banks and Payments are disrupting traditional brick & mortar banks. Photo credit: Shutterstock.

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Artificial Intelligence

The financial sector is poised to depend more on AI to process and handle large transactions. Take the banking industry, for example, AI is projected to reduce its operating costs by 22%, this means saving almost a trillion dollars. AI is already being used by several institutions to enhance customer service e.g Leo by UBA. Its ability to work with unstructured data will make for easy dealing of cyber crimes and financial frauds.

Payments

Digital wallets, mobile and cashless payments will drive the financial sector in terms of payments. In 2019,  there were about 2.1 billion mobile wallet users. Add the use of blockchain to the mix and there is no telling how widely disrupted the sector will be. The main drivers of the disruption will be Generation X.

China takes the lead

China is an overwhelming leader in almost all fintech categories; from payment to lending to wealth management. With over 800 million internet users, 98% of whom are using mobile, it is no surprise that this is the prime area for fintech to thrive. China also has a high rate of investment than the rest of the world, this is equally an added factor. At this point, China is an exemplary leader and the best case study for how the fintech revolution is growing and evolving.

Read Also: Power of partnerships: harnessing the strengths of other businesses to grow

Smart contracts

Blockchain is enabling smart contracts
Blockchain is enabling smart contracts. Lawyers and paperwork are avoided.

Thanks to blockchain technology, we have what is called smart contracts. Basically smart contracts are a way to digitize contracts that would normally require the services of lawyers and tedious processes. In smart contracts, parties sign a smart contact using cryptographic keys as a digital signature. Instead of paper, the contracts are encoded in computer language. Thanks to blockchain the codes cannot be tampered or altered. All devices that get the first digital copy of the contract will serve as witnesses and these devices would all see to the execution of the contract and fulfilment of all terms.

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Absa Kenya signs almost 5 million customers on virtual platform

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Kenya’s Absa Bank , a part of South Africa’s Absa Group, has signed almost 5 million customers on its virtual banking platform, which it sees as a major driver for future growth, chief executive, Jeremy Awori announced yesterday.

When the bank first launched its virtual savings and loan app known as “Timiza” — Kiswahili for “Achieve” — in March 2018, it attracted 300,000 customers. By the end of the year it had 3 million users, with lending standing at 10 billion Kenyan shillings ($98.91 million).

The bank, formerly known as Barclays Kenya, also has a separate mobile-based banking service to process normal customer transactions such as deposits and withdrawals.

Absa Kenya, posted a pretax profit of 8.18 billion shillings in the first nine months of 2019, compared with 7.72 billion shillings in year-earlier period.

Kenyan lenders have in recent years , turned to technology as they try to counter competition from mobile phone-based financial services such as from telecoms operator Safaricom’s M-Pesa platform, which had 23.6 million users as of last September.

Absa’s virtual banking app’s competitors include those run by KCB Group’s, NCBA Group and Equity Group.

Pressure to use mobile banking services increased further when the government imposed a cap on commercial lending rates in 2016 that ate into bank profit margins forcing banks to search for new ways to grow their businesses. The cap was scrapped at the end of last year.

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Angola’s Former Leader Ordered $500 million Funds transfer

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In a statement that may help the defense of one of his sons who is standing trial for money laundering, Angolan President, Jose Eduardo dos Santos has disclosed that he ordered a $500-million transfer from the central bank to an overseas account before stepping down.

The former president’s two most high-profile children are under increased scrutiny from prosecutors probing how they amassed their wealth during their father’s 38-year rule.

While the 77-year-old former leader is immune from prosecution until 2022, his daughter, Isabel was named last month as a suspect in an investigation over alleged mismanagement at state oil company, Sonangol.

In 2018, his son Jose Filomeno, alongside former central bank Governor, Filipe da Silva and two others, were accused of crimes including participation in unlawful business, money laundering, embezzlement and fraud for the money transfer to a U.K. account in 2017. Their trial began in December last year.

According to Jose Eduardo dos Santos, the transfer was needed to set up a strategic investment fund and finance Angola’s ailing economy.

Former head of Angola’s $5 billion sovereign wealth fund, Jose Filomeno says the trial is politically motivated while the country’s former central bank governor, Filipe da Silva has denied any wrongdoing, saying he was just following presidential orders.

It was meant to be the first of three transfers totaling $1.5 billion.

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Air Zimbabwe fails to raise investment

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Zimbabwe’s troubled national airline has failed to secure outside investment, thereby dealing a blow to government plans to sell state-owned assets and secure much-needed revenue.

The airline, which in October 2018 was placed under administration, received expressions of interest from 10 international investors and had short-listed three bidders.

According to the airline’s administrator, Reggie Saruchera, a process to solicit for a strategic partner or investor was undertaken, but none of the parties that expressed interest and submitted bids were successful.

The airline also has an outstanding debt of about $370 million and Saruchera recommends that it be settled before seeking fresh investment. 

The national carrier also says it will lease out two Boeing 777 jetliners it bought from Malaysia Airlines in 2018 and has received nine bids for them.

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