EXCLUSIVE RANKING: AFRICA'S TOP 200 BANKS
Pushed off balance, like the rest of the continental economy, by the Covid-19 crisis, Africa’s big banks have nevertheless shown adaptability during this period, and some are already bouncing back.
At this time, the bank set up an entity called Wenov dedicated to digital and entrepreneurial innovation, incorporating WeLab, a technological laboratory. In mid-2021, AWB’s management announced that this facility had led to collaborations with 120 startups.
In 2019, the group integrated a digital centre into the information systems department to develop its products and processes. This centre brings together around 250 people and operates on the basis of ‘agile’ methods, a multidisciplinary approach and a lighter methodological framework. The idea is for the Moroccan giant, which has more than 20,000 employees, to become more flexible.
While the bank remains somewhat conservative, and some of its smaller competitors, such as CIH Bank and CFG Bank, are also working on digital technology, AWB has made a fundamental effort to modernise all its business lines, including insurance products.
“In this respect, it is ahead of its Moroccan rivals, Banque Centrale Populaire and BMCE Bank of Africa, and is closing the gap that could separate it on the continent from an international bank such as Société Générale,” says Yoann Lhonneur, director of Devlhon Consulting.
In 2020, AWB recorded 12 million customer logins per month, up 60% in one year. It also claims pole position in Morocco for the number of transactions integrating electronic payments, with 39% of this market in 2020.
AWB’s 100% digital bank, L’bankalik, launched in 2016, illustrates this trend. In a service launched in February, “opening an account is now done through a simple selfie, using the latest technology in facial recognition and electronic signatures,” says a bank executive.
Across AWB, four out of five transactions by clients are now carried out via digital channels. The digital strategy, using big data, has also made it possible to refine loan applications. Between 2014 and 2020, the number of decision-making strategies and scores increased from five to 20. The group is currently working to ensure that all subsidiaries can use these tools.
This digitalisation will continue throughout the implementation of its 2021-2025 strategic plan. The challenge for the group is to improve its operational efficiency, with its branch network and the increase in operating costs pulling down its results.
This is part of our print edition dossier on Africa’s top 200 banks
Understand Africa's tomorrow... today
We believe that Africa is poorly represented, and badly under-estimated. Beyond the vast opportunity manifest in African markets, we highlight people who make a difference; leaders turning the tide, youth driving change, and an indefatigable business community. That is what we believe will change the continent, and that is what we report on. With hard-hitting investigations, innovative analysis and deep dives into countries and sectors, The Africa Report delivers the insight you need.View subscription options