Standard Chartered has launched a digital-only bank in the Ivory Coast and roped in the country's most famous sportsman, footballer Didier Droggba, as its first customer and brand ambassador.
Ivory Coast has the fifth-highest mobile money penetration in Africa, a region where telcos and non-banks have blindsided the incumbents by wooing the unbanked with a series of mobile-based financial services.
The move by Standard Chartered will see the bank seek to make up lost ground by offering a full panoply of up to 70 online and mobile-only financial products, including money transfers and bill payments.
Jaydeep Gupta, regional head of retail banking, Africa & Middle East, says: “Our new digital bank was developed with our clients in mind. We have taken into consideration the feedback received by our clients at each stage of the design process and have incorporated innovative technology to allow them to execute all banking activities from a mobile device. This includes 70 banking services through the app.
"In addition, for the first time, the client onboarding journey has been digitised and in under 15 minutes a client can open a new account through the app. What has also been introduced is the ability for clients to track and trace a request submitted, which is a first for Standard Chartered. This is something we are very proud of.”
He says the new bank will be a forerunner to a global campaign, with forthcoming launches in Kenya, Ghana and Nigeria already pencilled in.
In singing up Drogba as a brand ambassador, Standard Chartered will hope to emulate the success of DBS Bank's DigiBank operation in India, which has won over two million customers aided by a relationship with cricketing icon Sachin Tendulkar.
Sunil Kaushal, regional CEO, Africa & Middle East, says: “We are thrilled to be working with Didier Drogba to launch our first digital bank. Drogba’s priorities and ideals are very much in line with the Bank, making him an ideal partner for this momentous new offering. The launch of our digital bank in Côte d’Ivoire is an important chapter in our developing turnaround story for the region."