News: How Barclays Aims to Bring a Billion Unbanked into the Fold

Helping shape the future of financial services with Barclays Africa

We are proud of our work with Barclays Africa to help shape the future of financial services. Doblin's Thomas Jankovich shares with American Banker details of the innovation projects underway, including one intiative--a ‘virtual bank'--that will leverage exponential technologies to help create financial inclusion for the unbanked.

Excerpted from the article:

Barclays Africa Group has a market penetration problem.

Though its parent company, the $1.8 trillion-asset Barclays PLC, has had operations in Africa for more than 100 years, today Barclays Africa has only 12 million customers, about 1% of the continent's total population. Clearly, said Stephen van Coller, Barclays Africa's chief executive for corporate and investment banking, "you've got an opportunity to bank significantly more people than you currently are banking."

But to reach the other 99% — to bank the next billion customers — will require more than marketing efforts, more than simply better outreach, van Coller said. It will require building an entirely new bank, a "virtual bank" that will strip out legacy costs and offer new products and services, such as faster, cheaper payments, tailored to the needs of people at "the bottom of the pyramid."

A lot of banks have innovation labs, and a lot of banks are spending money on [fintech] experiments, and a lot of those experiments are focusing on digitization and efficiency. Barclays is doing something unique with the virtual bank, where it is entirely reimagining and re-platforming the concept of what a bank is.

– Thomas Jankovich

For more than a year now, Barclays Africa has been engaged in building this bank, partnering with Deloitte and various fintech startups to get it done. At a time when bank profits often seem to depend more on reducing costs than on growing revenue, Barclays is taking a long-term view: that a dramatic improvement in its bottom line depends on plugging the unbanked en masse into the global economy.

Read the full article on American Banker