ABSA Bank Tanzania has said the Covid-19 pandemic has made banking industry to embrace automation and digitalisation so as to offer customers the convenience and flexibility in managing their investments.
The Absa Regional Operations Chief Executive, Retail and Business Banking, Digital and Customer Experience, Vimal Kumar said coronavirus scare has affected every sector in all societies across the globe, with everyone impacted from an economic, health and social perspective.
“As individuals tried to remain as liquid as possible during this period, some of the key trends reflected were the shifting of deposits to secure banks,” he said.
He said Absa was one of the first banks to respond in the way of relief and payment solutions for all customer segments including suppliers, vendors, SMEs and our high net worth individuals.
He said investors seeing erosion in personal net worth and a good percentage are worried about consumer confidence due to the global recession, job losses and reduction of investments into economies.
Industries such as real estate, stock markets and mutual funds have suffered a significant depreciation.
Individuals who leveraged off investments during periods where the economy was stronger are feeling the pinch in many ways trying to keep themselves as liquid as possible.
“A few of the ways we are seeing this happen is through delaying investments and shifting cash holdings from local to foreign currency. Through collaborating with stakeholders to build and grow economies, we are ensuring sustainable recovery of this economic downturn,” he noted.
Along with other banks, Absa has been playing a crucial role in facilitating the movement of funds and ensuring government programmes are utilised effectively, as well as passing on regulatory changes such as lower lending rates very quickly.
However, what is clear and evident is that the pandemic has forced the banking and financial services sector to shift to a much leaner and optimised way of engaging and managing customers’ needs and expectations.
“We have further embraced automation and digitalisation in our efforts to offer our customers the flexibility and instruments to manage their investments at their convenience,” he said.
While the majority of people have focused on stability and job security during this period, affluent and high-net-worth individuals (HNWI) saw erosion to their personal net worth as economic activity and investments deteriorated during the pandemic.
“One of the key trends we are seeing is the significant movement in balances and deposits to secure banks such as Absa demonstrating confidence in the financial sector. Unlike the global financial crisis of 2008 where financial institutions were part of the problem, during Covid-19 banks were part of the solution.”
“There is a great opportunity for Africa to create an intercontinental supply chain framework. The over dependence on single commodity exports and raw material into the rest of the world is what exacerbates an economic crisis in a continent like Africa,” he said.
He said the free trade agreement is coming at the right time and should spur the movement of commodities on the continent.
“However, there is a need for governments to come together to shift the conversation to one where the African continent also starts to become a manufacturing hub creating growth and wealth,” he explained.
Creating the regional trade networks gives Africa the right opportunity to step into becoming more self-reliant because the upcoming trends will see regional trade routes and continental trade routes strengthening while global supply chains weaken.