Standard Bank – Partners in Africa’s Digital Evolution

Crosby Mkhwanazi, Group Head: Transactional Products and Services, Wholesale Clients of Standard Bank, speaks with Global Finance's Publisher and Editorial Director Joseph Giarraputo about a variety of topics including: how Standard Bank's customer's needs are evolving; how digital acceleration is transforming Africa's banking landscape and the importance of ESG to Standard Bank's clients.

Digital transformation tops the agenda of every company in Africa. As digital needs continue to evolve, transactional banks must also evolve to become innovative digital partners, providing expertise, data and connectivity clients need to run their businesses, says Crosby Mkhwanazi, Group Head: Transactional Products & Services, Wholesale Clients of Standard Bank.

Companies continue to turn to banks for transactional products, solutions and advisory services that are essential to operating their businesses, including treasury, cash management, risk management, yield enhancement, liquidity and financing. But in Africa’s evolving corporate landscape, traditional banking services are now driven by growing demand for digital architecture and capabilities that are pushing banks to reinvent themselves as tech-integrated organizations. 

Banking’s tech evolution 

Technology is driving the banking industry’s new evolution. Tech solutions are becoming cheaper and more available, making it easier for companies to procure out-of-the-box tech solutions for banking services such as payroll, treasury management, trade finance. Global standardization such as ISO for SWIFT transactions and other channels is also driving digital acceleration. 

Whereas a decade ago, banks offered proprietary solutions that were more complicated, time-consuming and expensive, the reduced cost and development time of new digital solutions is accelerating demand and adoption by companies across Africa. 

New architecture for new services 

To serve the emerging needs of corporate customers, Standard Bank transformed our own technology architecture to provide nimble, services-based solutions. Our new cloud-based solutions are now critical in enabling us to provide clients with lower-cost solutions and to increase real-time availability and reliability of our systems. 

In the past, Standard Bank offered large-scale monolithic solutions to give clients a lending platform or online capability, for example. Today, we are sectioning out these solutions into micro services on the cloud and enabling connectivity via APIs. The tech solutions are fully aligned with our segmentation model and facilitate customized products and services based on our deep cross-continent sector expertise. 

Through the connectivity of our new technology architecture, clients are now able to buy different suites of products from Standard Bank and can easily integrate those solutions with fintechs or other financial institutions, as needed. 

Data-driven insight & services 

In Africa, data is emerging as an important product companies demand from banks. For risk management, it is critical that companies have timely and ongoing visibility into the entire organization, subsidiaries, bank accounts and investments. Companies are looking for banks to provide more data and insight they can use to drive their businesses. 

For Standard Bank, the powerful data created by our tech platform has been a significant business driver. We can deliver real-time information and expert analysis, insights and trend reporting based on a faster, more dynamic data flow, helping clients better manage their business across the board. 

Trusted partners in innovation 

Companies have a massive need for banks that can both be partners and help connect to partners. APIs and cloud solutions give banks efficient, effective channels to innovate with clients, partners, fintechs and big techs. 

For Standard Bank, innovation starts and ends with clients. We partner with clients to innovate, and technology is a key driver of innovation. Innovation is dramatically accelerated by our connectivity to fintechs and other banks because we are no longer solely dependent on our own tech capability. We originate a client solutions and then partner to create an ideal solution, or basket of solutions, to meet client needs. 

Throughout Africa’s digital banking evolution, some things will never change. Africa has been Standard Bank’s home for over 155 years and our clients continue to turn to Standard Bank as a trusted financial partner for our unparalleled sector knowledge and expertise to navigate their banking needs across the continent.

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