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Standard Bank's digital channels eclipse traditional platforms

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Standard Bank's digital channels are gaining traction.
Standard Bank's digital channels are gaining traction.

Standard Bank, one of SA's big four banks, has reported massive gains in its digital banking platforms.

Yesterday, the bank announced its provisional results for the year ended 31 December 2018, reporting group headline earnings grew 6% to R27.9 billion.

In a statement, Standard Bank says in line with its customers' increasing preference for convenient digital channels over traditional channels, electronic banking fee revenue increased 11% while revenue from account transaction fees increased at a slower rate of 2%.

In SA, the bank says the business saw strong digital volume growth across Instant Money, the SBG mobile app and value-added services as well as card-based transactions.

According to Standard Bank, digital adoption also continued to gain traction in African regions, in particular Namibia, Nigeria and Zimbabwe. Knowledge-based fees grew 3%, following corporate investment banking's participation in several landmark transactions, coupled with increased client activity in the energy and infrastructure sectors.

It adds that staff costs were up 7% driven by a combination of annual salary increases, separation costs relating to the IT restructure and key hires. Net headcount declined by 900 people on the back of a combination of natural attrition, digital efficiencies and management actions.

Tight control of IT expenses, in particular in 2H18, resulted in year-on-year growth of 5%.

"Our customers continued to migrate to our digital platforms apace, in particular, the SBG mobile app," says Standard Bank.

It points out that digital transaction volumes increased 26%, while face-to-face volumes declined 13%.

SBG mobile app users increased 30% to 1.3 million, mobile transaction values increased 44% to 262 billion, and transaction volumes increased 50% to 958 million (over 2.5 million a day).

"Instant Money, our money transfer platform, also continued to gain traction; unique users increased 10% to 1.7 million.

"Our customers' preference for digital channels is unequivocal. In order to deliver the always-on, always-secure offering they expect, we have to leverage the strategic IT assets we have, accelerate our product development, and rollout and digitise our execution processes.

"This will require a reallocation of resources from our physical to our digital channels and a concomitant reconfiguration of our branch infrastructure," the bank says.

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