Last Updated
Thursday 18 December 2014, 14:58 pm.
Botswana leads in FNB's cellphone banking

First National Bank of Botswana (FNBB) cellphone banking has recorded a year-on-year growth of 277 percent, with 65 percent of its customers using the service, the CEO of FNB Africa, Danny Zandamela, has said.
By Staff Writer Sat 20 Dec 2014, 16:59 pm (GMT +2)
Mmegi Online :: Botswana leads in FNB's cellphone banking








In a statement released on the FNB Africa website, Zandamela says at 65 percent, Botswana customers take the lead in using the service, compared to other countries in which the bank has operations in the region.

Botswana is followed by Namibia and Zambia at 47 percent and Swaziland with 11 percent. Together the four countries perform in the region of 1.2 million-cell phone-banking transactions per month, worth approximately P122 million.

In Zambia, cellphone banking recorded a year-on-year growth of 376 percent, 204 percent in Namibia and 473 percent in Swaziland. Says Zandamela, who is the former FNBB CEO.

"When we introduced our Cellphone Banking Solution into other African countries, sceptics were not convinced by this channel as being a successful financial offering.

"However, the numbers we are seeing are confirmation that the African continent is actually an ideal market for mobile banking services."

In 2010, the bank processed more than P1.2 billion worth of transactions in cellphone banking. It will also launch the same product in Tanzania, where FNB will start retail operations from next month.

FNB launched its cellphone banking in South Africa in 2005, Botswana in 2006, Namibia in 2007, Zambia in 2009, Swaziland last year Lesotho this year.

Cellphone banking is expanding in Africa as cellular penetration rates soar due to declining use of fixed-line telephones. Countries such as South Africa, Kenya, Nigeria and Egypt have some of the continent's highest cellphone penetration rates.

This has created joint-venture opportunities for cellphone companies and banks to deliver financial services to reach the unbanked, particularly those in remote areas where building branches is uneconomical.

According to a FinScope Botswana 2009 survey, more than half of the country's adult population remains unbanked. Botswana's largest cellphone companies, Mascom and Orange, have gone into several joint ventures with banks, the latest products being Orange's My Money and Mascom's MyZaka.

Zandamela also gives an update of the latest money transfer product, e-Wallet, which was launched in Botswana last November and is yet to be introduced in the other countries other than South Africa where the product was introduced first.

To-date, the bank says it has recorded over 89,000 e-wallet transactions amounting to P31 million within Botswana's borders.

"The need to transfer money quickly and safely from one person to another is and has always been important in emerging economies, and we are glad to be in a position where we are helping people with a financial offering in this way," says Zandamela.

The success of e-wallet in Botswana has resulted in plans to roll out the product in other African subsidiaries in the near future. "Mobile money services offer an inexpensive and convenient method to bridge the gap between the banked and unbanked," Zandamela continues.

"The African continent, by pure virtue of being one of the fastest growing mobile phone markets in the world, is the ideal environment for such innovation and it is with this that we coupled cellphone banking and e-wallet services into our African expansion portfolio."

Under the leadership of Zandamela, FNB Botswana set the trend in the use of cellphone banking technology five years ago, overtaking Standard Chartered and Barclays to become Botswana's largest profit maker in the sector.

Introducing cellphone banking only in August 2009, Stanchart and Barclays recently emerged on the market with innovative products of their own which appear to be relatively cheaper in terms of charges but are trailing behind in terms of service.



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