Discovery Bank adds new customers despite COVID-19 setback

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Discovery Bank says it’s continuing to attract new clients with its fully-digital 24/7 on-boarding process – with over 177 000 clients and 330 000 accounts.

For the year ending 30 June, the bank attracted over R2.1 billion in retail deposits; however, overall credit utilisation has declined during the lockdown and arrears, including non-performing loans, are still within expectation, says Discovery.

Discovery first announced its digital bank in November 2018. It launched in March last year, when it touted the new offering as the “world’s first behavioural bank” and a fully digital bank that can be joined by anyone with a smartphone.

On Monday, Discovery provided an update to shareholders on the financial performance of the group for the year ending 30 June, as well as the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on it business.

The company says normalised profit from operations before providing for potential future COVID-19 impact for the year ending 30 June is expected to be between 15% to 25% higher, excluding the results of Discovery Bank, and between 5% to 15% higher, including the results of the bank.

On COVID-19, Discovery says the group’s response prioritised three groups: employees, clients and broader society.

It says, using Discovery’s data and modelling expertise, interventions focused on identifying members most at risk, and product innovation across SA and the UK to ensure relevant cover in the current context, while maintaining financial resilience.

“Discovery data corroborates published data that the elderly and those with co-morbidities are disproportionately affected; with emerging evidence that a healthy lifestyle, as measured by Vitality engagement – and formalised in a proprietary Resilience Index – protects against COVID-19 complications,” it says.

As a result, Discovery says more than 30 000 medium to high risk individuals were identified across the group, “followed by personalised contact. In addition, Discovery enabled employers to further reach out to their over 100 000 medium to high risk employees.”

Meanwhile, Patrice Motsepe-controlled African Rainbow Capital Investments (ARC) announced on Friday that TymeBank continues to on-board on average 100 000 customers per month or between 20 000 and 30 000 customers each week.

It said in March, when government announced and implemented level five lockdown, the bank experienced some lower footfall to its kiosks located in Pick n Pay and Boxer stores.

“Coupled with ambassadors having worked less hours as a precautionary measure, and therefore translating to less assistance to onboard customers and deal with customer queries, it resulted in the bank onboarding approximately 20% less customers in April,” said ARC.

“Of the current 1.8 million customers who have opened bank accounts, approximately 900 000 are active accounts. The average number of transactions per active customer is consistently increasing.”

TymeBank achieved the R1 billion mark of customer deposits in April and it says the growth in deposits remains strong and ahead of the business plan.

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