British multinational banking and financial services company, Standard Chartered Plc, is reported to have concluded plans to close down at least half of its Nigerian branches, in a major move, as it embraces digital banking.
A report by Bloomberg News says that the Nigerian subsidiary started closing down some offices in December and might drop it from 25 to 13 branches.
Standard Chartered Bank is aiming at strengthening its mobile banking services and recruiting agents to reach new customers and handle cash deposits and withdrawals across the country.
The report added that some insiders said the development is part of the company’s strategy to join First Bank and Zenith Bank in agent banking.
Nigerian banks are currently embracing digital banking to compete with fintech products across Africa and tap into the outbreak of mobile money services.
Last year, MTN Nigeria and Airtel Africa Plc received approval in principle to operate a payment service bank (PSB) in the country.
Through PSB operators, the two telecommunication companies will join the financial services through digital means to bank low-income earners and people that do not have access to banking institutions for transactions.
Airtel also received approval to operate as a super-agent via its subsidiary, Smartcash Payment Service Bank Limited.
Super agents are companies approved by CBN to recruit agents for agency banking, such as financial services within communities on behalf of banks to deepen financial inclusion.
This strategy will help close the margin of the unbanked population at 36 percent of the adult population, representing 38 million citizens, in Nigeria.