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Lorna Mwangi.

Stanbic Bank offers long-term solutions to financial inclusion in South Sudan

The Juba Echo’s Denis Ejulu spoke to Lorna Mwangi, Head of Corporate Banking at Stanbic Bank South Sudan on financial inclusion and other services the bank is offering in South Sudan.

Below are excerpts of the interview.

The majority of South Sudanese keep money in houses; how is Stanbic Bank hoping to make these people bankable?

There are many reasons why people are unbanked or underbanked, related to ease of access. 

At Stanbic, we keep innovating with our potential clients in mind. 

Financial inclusion has improved in Sub-Saharan Africa, predominantly driven by digital solutions such as mobile money and innovations in delivery models, including agency banking. As a bank, we develop solutions that will create convenience, build trust in banking systems and ensure that our transaction fees are affordable for our clients.

The other pillar of building trust in the formal financial system is ensuring the security of funds. We have invested significantly in robust systems to mitigate risks and strengthen compliance, ensuring our client funds are always safe, secure and accessible. Finally, exceptional human and digital interactions, superior customer service, transparency and personalisation are additional practical ways to convince currently unbanked individuals to begin to use banking services. 

What type of bank accounts does Stanbic Bank operate?

We have different types of accounts targeted at meeting personal and corporate requirements.

For individuals, we have a Personal Current Account and Private Banking Account in various currencies, including SSP and USD. Our current accounts allow our clients to enjoy personalised services and tailored offerings to suit their requirements. This includes Visa-enabled debit cards, mobile banking, secondary cards, electronic alerts, borderless banking and access to our ATMs. The private banking account provides our clients with banking essentials and a range of additional benefits. Notably, dedicated Relationship Managers serve all our accounts. We are working on developing a Pure Save Account that allows clients to save and build up their cash reserves.

For our corporate and commercial clients, we have the business current account, a flexible account for businesses of all sizes that want more from a bank account than paying and receiving funds. Furthermore, we have implemented proactive business and digital solutions such as Business Online (BOL). Business Online is our interactive electronic banking platform that allows you to conduct fully-fledged banking at your convenience. From viewing balances and statements to creating beneficiaries to approving and authorising inter-account and for domestic or cross-border payments, all from the comfort and convenience of your office.

Could you provide more details on your banking platform?

Our banking platform includes local, regional, and international payments through Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT), Reconciliation and Reporting (rich narrative with BOL Bank Statements), Payroll processing (instant payments to Stanbic account holders), International Telegraphic Transfer (TT), Access to account balances and statements,Real-Time Gross Settlem ent (RTGS), Foreign currency conversions, and Instant tax payments.

We also offer mobile banking services on USSD (*544#) and a Stanbic Bank South Sudan Mobile Banking App on the Google Play Store. A self-registration mechanism allows our clients to access their accounts, anytime, anywhere. A customer is able to perform the following services after registration for the service: 

  • Balance Enquiry 
  • Regional and Local Transfers 
  • Service Requests and Queries 
  • Cheque Book Requests 
  • Statement Requests 
  • Forex Requests  
  • Self PIN Resets 

Opening bank accounts takes several procedures, which at times frustrates people; how have you eased this process?

Technological improvements have allowed the automation of onboarding processes replacing previous manual measures. This solution allows us to service clients more holistically, allowing easier access to new solutions, alternate payment. This allows a client to move away from manual to electronic payment solutions, fostering enhanced levels of client protection as well as wealth generation.

What distinguishes Stanbic Bank? 

Our financial solutions are integral to supporting the people and businesses in South Sudan. We aim to be a responsible financial provider that understands the needs of our clients and provides relevant financial solutions that empower their aspirations. By meeting these needs, we can increase the number of clients and consequently increase the number of branches that serve South Sudan.

We offer a universal financial services proposition, we are supporting and working closely with the entire value chain at all levels of the economy, from the multinational corporate to the local content services companies to entrepreneurs and employees, as well as key stakeholders like government and development partners of this great country. This is a growth story for all.

Further to this, Stanbic Bank is an equal opportunity employer promoting and embracing diversity and gender equality. Women face various challenges in the corporate world such as, wage stagnation, labour force participation, income disparities and fewer women in managerial or leadership positions. We are incredibly passionate about gender equality, which is evident in our policies that promote women’s empowerment. We have several women in leadership and key roles, and we have also provided structured learning programs, scholarships with educational institutions, global and local training and workshops, job secondments and rotations to our staff.

The Stanbic shield represents honour, security, value, and identity. The identity of a people with purpose and passion to contribute meaningfully to the South Sudan success story. Our purpose is clear ‘South Sudan Is Our Home, We Drive Her Growth’. It’s not just a tagline, it’s part of who we are. 

How does Stanbic meet client needs across the country? 

Our commitment to South Sudan is part of our purpose – We are structured around the pillars that drive this economy, we have divided our business divisions into sectors with dedicated teams serving our clients across areas like Oil & Gas, Energy, Power & Infrastructure, Humanitarian & Development Assistance, Government, Telecommunications and Insurance among others. This way we can focus on the country’s competitive advantages and areas of growth, achieve deep sector expertise to develop solutions that will help accelerate the growth of institutions and individuals in these sectors. So as these sectors grow so will our client base and our business supported by the deployment of digital banking solutions and an agency banking model.

We can make payments to all locations in South Sudan through strategic partnerships as well as robust standard and bespoke transactional solutions and foreign exchange. We have been doing this since 2004. 

Our role is to ensure that we can meet our clients and employee needs, provide the right solutions and capabilities, and engage and support stakeholders to empower all those in our vast ecosystem to achieve their goals. Therefore, fulfilling our purpose as a catalytic contributor to the sustainable socioeconomic growth of South Sudan.

Banks have recently integrated mobile banking in partnership with telecommunication partners; has Stanbic bank also taken up this approach?

We partnered with Mobile Network Operators Zain and MTN to facilitate our mobile banking offering via USSD. We have also developed a Mobile Banking App. Mobile Banking ensures that businesses are resilient, and friends and relatives can easily and instantly transfer money anytime with little disruption.

The provision of mobile banking services, which includes mobile money capabilities, is part of our efforts to contribute to financial inclusion. This enables effortless access to formal banking, commercial and economic services and is a critical part of equitable economic development. The bank is committed to provide access to alternative banking methods that offer financial services through affordable and accessible technology such as mobile banking.

Digital transformation in the banking sector will ensure equality and financial accessibility in South Sudan. Stanbic Bank is intentional about enhancing digital transformation for sustainable development, financial inclusion, and foreign direct investment that will boost economic development. This is aligned with our purpose: South Sudan Is Our Home; We Drive Her Growth.

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