Bankers Association of Malawi (BAM) has said the banking sector is evolving and is scaling up investments to build infrastructure that can efficiently handle mobile banking key among them is developing a clear digital banking strategy.
BAM executive director Lyness Nkungula said on Wednesday the banking sector realises that the future for banking is in mobile, hence, investment in mobile banking technology is imperative for its survival.
“If you look at the cost of investing in brick and mortar today compared with the cost of running mobile banking the cost of managing a full-scale bank is prohibitive.
“We have to move banks from processing centres for cash withdraw and deposits to making them delivery channels for value-added financial services,” she said.
She noted that the demand for retail banking services is clearly rising while brick-and-mortar bank locations are stagnant, indicating that customers are using online and mobile banking services with greater frequency.
“Customers at physical banks are becoming dissatisfied with standing in long lines, waiting for feedback as more people choose to bank at home or on the go, retail branches will likely decrease in usage, and the number of physical locations will begin to steadily decline.
Mobile phone offers both banks and users a tremendous business opportunity. For instance, in some countries, mobile phone banking is used more widely than internet banking.
She said banks can therefore adopt mobility solutions to reach out to the unbanked population to increase their customer base and provide seamless services to customers for availing credit and self-service options.
In may this year, Old Mutual jointly with mobile phone network provider Telekom Networks Malawi launched an investment platform named Mpamba Fesa through which customers are able to invest on the money market electronically.
So far, usage and uptake of the platform has been promising according to TNM public relations officer Limbani Nsapato.
He said: “Each day more numbers are being registered on the platform and the number of actual investments on Fesa is equally growing by day. This attests to the fact that the platform is a relevant product to the needs of Malawians.”
TNM is just an example of several other businesses that have partnered with either investment avenues or banks to provide mobile banking services, an indication that mobile banking is taking centre stage.