How Barclays Aims to Bring a Billion Unbanked into the Fold
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.”
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.