Standard Bank enters the virtual mobile network operator space in Ghana with an offering that rewards users with free data, in an evolution of offerings in the mobile space. "With the MVNO space fiercely competitive in SA at the time, Stephen Bailey Standard Bank Mobile CEO, says SB Mobile is offering something totally different: an integrated (rather than a stand-alone) service, which rewards customers with free calls and data for doing something they do every day — bank," according to Mobile Money Africa. "Customers also earn money every time they use their credit, check or debit cards." SB Mobile will also do away with data bundles, offering data prices with no expiry data, in a nod to the power of pre-paid in Africa. Standard Bank's Funeka Montjane, chief executive for personal and business banking in South Africa, said that SB Mobile was not a downmarket offering but an extension of the bank's digital offering. It's something we've been predicting here at Lafferty News: banks will eventually take on MNOs with VMNOs that offer for free what MNOs make their customers pay for. The SB Mobile news comes top of announcements earlier this month about a rapid evolution in the mobile money space, with mobile operators agreeing on interoperability in a move that will accelerate the potential for mobile networks to solve financial inclusion issues that banks have not been able to solve with fee-driven banking models.
Are central banks and financial regulators the top global purveyors of after-the-fact analysis? We suspect so, even as the world watches a daily slew of revelations about bank money laundering emerging from Europe. The Danish central bank reported this week on financial stability, with the earth-shattering revelation that "there is a need for coordinated effort between firms and authorities" to combat money laundering, a line that has been adopted among European central banks. This analysis follows the Danish central bank's belated realisation that "Money laundering problems in a single bank could spread to the entire financial sector and could in turn affect financial stability." The central bank's report on financial stability said "there is a need for coordinated effort between firms and authorities" to combat money laundering, calling for better European cooperation including a strengthening of cross-border supervisory cooperation. How can European central banks manage a coordinated public relations campaign to suggest more co-ordination is needed, while being incapable of providing that coordination among themselves?
The fintech wave is now rolling across the business and SME banking business as digital technology, and alternative data offer new scorecards for lending to the business sector. In the last week we've heard news from South Africa that Capitec, consistently the highest-rated bank in the Lafferty's Bank Benchmarking database, is to enter business banking via the acquisition of Mercantile Bank. Mercantile Bank is currently entirely owned by Portuguese bank Caixa Geral de Depositos. In a statement, Capitec said that the acquisition of Mercantile will allow it to bypass the need to create new systems from scratch, "and thus fast-track the bank's objective to expand its focus to a broader bank strategy." Karl Kumbier, the CEO of Mercantile said he was excited that Capitec had chosen Mercantile. "Capitec is a brand that is associated with hard work, innovation, and disruption. It is the fastest growing bank in the country and has over 10 million clients," he said.
Capitec scored five stars and Danske Bank scored three stars in the Lafferty 2018 bank benchmarking survey. The maximum score is five stars.
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