With the adoption of digital banking channels and more customers migrating to electronic banking following Covid-19 restrictions, three leading banks, Zenith Bank Plc, Access Bank Plc and Guaranty Trust Holding Company Plc have generated a sum of N75.24 trillion from electronic banking transactions in the first half of 2021.
This represents an increase of 142 per cent from N31.06N trillion generated by these three banks in the first half of 2020, despite fierce competition from FinTechs.
In recent time, Nigerian banks have invested in Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) means of transactions, Automated Teller Machine (ATM), Agency Banking, Points of Sales (PoS) terminal, internet banking and Mobile Banking forms of electronic banking channels.
Nigerian banks were forced to invest heavily in the digital banking channels amid dilapidated infrastructures and severe competition from FinTech companies.
From all indications, Zenith Bank leads others in revenue generated from its electronic Banking products channels transaction in the period.
A breakdown revealed that the Zenith Bank reported N39.36trillion value of electronic products transactions in H1 2021, a significant increase of 127 per cent from N17.32trillion transaction in H1 2020, while Access bank grew its electronic products transactions by 52 per cent to N20.86trillion in H1 2021 from N13.73trillion in H1 2020.
In addition, GTCO recorded a N15.02 trillion from its electronic products transactions in H1 2021 from N8.49trillion in H1 2020.
The breakdown revealed that Zenith Bank’s ATM transactions moved from N568billion in H1 2020 to N745billion in H1 2021, while USSD transaction closed H1 2021 at N770billion from N457billion in H1 2020.
Zenith bank recorded N1.82trillion transactions on Agency Banking in H1 2021 from N225billion in H1 2020 as transactions on PoS terminal hits N2.53trillion in H1 2021 from N457billion in H1 2020.
However, Zenith bank transactions on its internet banking for the period rose significantly by 101.45 per cent to N16.41trillion from N8.15trillion in H1 2020 as Mobile Banking transactions hit a new record of N17.09trillion in H1 2021 from N7.47trillion in H1 2020.
Zenith bank’s number of electronic product transactions also rose by 318 per cent to 907 million in H1 2021 from 416million in H1 2020.
The bank explained that it recorded a remarkable growth in both value and volume of electronic product transactions, resulting in a 91per cent growth in income on electronic products to N17.05billion in H1 2021 from N8.94billion recorded in H1 2020.
Zenith bank closed the period with 13,707,995 of customers from 11,048,592 recorded in H1 2020 with 12,275,259 card issues as against 9,011,254 issued in H1 2020. The bank has 135,463 active PoS terminals in H1 2021 from 57,429 and 2,051 ATMs across the country in H1 2021 from 2,033 in H1 2020.
Further findings revealed that its agents rose significantly to 62,341 in H1 2021 from 14,896 in H1 2020.
Access Bank stated that its customers have trusted digital platforms, resulting into significant growth in digital transactions.
Expect for its PoS value of transactions that dropped by 17 per cent to N301billion in H1 2021 from N362billion recorded in H1 2020, its ATMs transactions rose by 26 per cent to N1, 044 billion from N829billion in H1 2020. USSD transactions recorded by Access Bank grew by 62 per cent to N1,155 trillion in H1 2021 from N713billion in H1 2020.
Access Bank has utilized its digital banking channels to boost lending to SMEs, and individual. The bank digital lending hits N68billion in H1 2021 from N46billion recorded in H1 2020.
The bank recorded N5,621 billion financial inclusion transaction value in H1 2021 from N2,760 billion in H1 2020.
Chief Executive Officer, Access Bank, Herbert Wigwe in a statement said: “To further enhance our operating efficiency and ensure strong returns on invested capital, we will bring the best of our group assets, specifically our digital banking capabilities that support individuals and businesses, enhance financial inclusion, and deliver the benefits of a strong network effect across our enlarged Group.”
GTCO disclosed that it continued to record growth in the level of adoption of digital banking in volume and value. The Bank said total volume of USSD unique users grew by 2.9 per cent from 6.9 million in 2020 to 7.1 million in June 30, 2021.
According to the bank, “total volume of active users on the USSD platform decreased by 8.8 per cent year-till-date from 5.7million in 2020 to 5.2 million in June 2021, following the introduction of a flat charge of n6.98 per successful transaction in March 2021 by the CBN and NCC.”
The bank said the introduction of the USSD flat charge by the regulating bodies trigged a migration of customers from the USSD platform to the internet banking and Mobile banking platforms.
GTCO recorded 32.6 per cent increase on its USSD transactions to N2.15trillion in H1 2021 from N1.63trillion in H1 2020 while total volume of transaction closed H1 2021 at 473.2 million, an increase of 35.3 per cent from 349.7 million in H1 2020.
Similarly, Mobile banking outperformed its volume growth average of 57 per cent between June 2019 and December 2020 and recorded a growth of 83 per cent in June 2021.
A check revealed that total value of GTCO’s Mobile banking transaction rose by 101.4 per cent to N11.44trillion in H1 2021 from N5.68trillion in H1 2020 while its volume gained 83 per cent to 173.9 million in H1 2021 from 95 million in H1 2020.
Speaking recently, the Group Chief Executive Officer, GTCO, Mr. Segun Agbaje said the bank would continue focusing on caring about human feelings to win the digital payment space in future.
He said: “I will be lying if I tell you that the bank that will win the payment space in future is one with the best technology. So, the person that is going to win, whether a FINTECH, a TELCO or a bank, is one that is going to build the right technology that can leave customers with that feeling that there are people who care about them and not artificial intelligence.”
He said the bank was well placed to win, as it had the required digital platforms. ”We have GT-Connection, GTPay, GABS-Lite, we have all the digital platforms required.
“In addition, we have “Habari”, a digital platform for children. No matter what the people say, it is the most successful interactive platform in Nigeria today. On it we have music, on it we have E-Commerce, on it we have the credit, we have the most successful of all endowed things on that platform. We are going to put travels, event management and you are going to come into our ecosystems and you will believe that we care about you, ”Agbaje said.
He said another reason that the bank was going to win was that it never stopped interacting with people.
“So already, we are beginning to put that balance together between a digital platform and a human experience; we care about our people and we have the ability to build a successful business platform,” he said.
Agbaje said what was driving the payment space was the people and SMEs.