It has not been a great year for the banking industry and i guess many of the banks would be happy to see the back of the year of our Lord 2016. Starting from Imperial Bank madness to Chase Bank problems in one hand, to rumors of Barclays leaving Kenya and the introduction of the new laws capping the interest rate on the other hand. So when BAKE hosted Barclays at the Nailab to discuss their agenda for Kenyans, especially for the 2017, I was looking forward to hear what they had to say.
They started by outlining what they have done so far and the lessons learned. Among them being how to deal with the Social Media in the industry where trust is everything. People are easy when they trust that their money is safe and any info otherwise could possibly bring down the bank as seen by the Chase Bank example. The big question is, are banks ready to change with time and Barclays Kenya acknowledged that the industry have to accept the new normal and have to change with time
For them to do that, technology is already playing a big role and the following are some of the areas they are working on
- Digital platforms
- Mobile platforms
- New Website
- QMS in branches
- Agency Banking
Although bank branches and agency banking is included, increasingly people are talking about the death of bank branches. With mobile banking available at the click of a button, there will come a time that there would be no need for the bank branches. Equity for example is making a big play on this end and they are already reaping the benefits. Barclays Kenya on their part believe that they would get there but things move a bit slowly for the multinationals as they weigh the need to balance the standardization vs the localization
The question about Startups came up as usually the case with such meetups. And surprisingly Jeremy Awori , the CEO was more honest on his answer than i have seen with many corporate heads around.
“People are not completely honest, 9 out of t 10 startups in Kenya fail, and it is hard to know a solid startup to invest in”.
That is the truth that even bloggers and journos shy a way from talking about. On the other hand majority of the big companies in Kenya like to use the startup situation for their PR purposes. More like “see how we are working with startups” even if you cant see any success from their work.