What Have We Done?

Changed how Nigerians get bank accounts and invest their money

Stanbic IBTC has a wide range of interests — our business covers retail banking, mutual fund investments, pension fund management, stockbroking, investment banking, insurance brokerage, trusteeships etc. Pretty much the whole gamut of financial services.

Not to exact scale

That gives us a broad view of the different segments and the peculiarities of their behavior. This unique view fuels our insights and gives us a roadmap with which to soothe the friction points as customers use our products.

As technology evolves, the way we interact with it evolves as well. Our customers expect to be served online and in real time.

So we are (r)evolving too.

We are piloting a fully digital branch at the Maryland Mall in Lagos, please go check it out and tweet us your thoughts!

We are also completely rethinking how we deliver service. It must be what you want, how you want it and available whenever you want it.

We are also completely rethinking how we deliver service. It must be what you want, how you want it and available whenever you want it. We already created Nigeria’s first 24/7 online customer care service which we call “Social Care”. On Twitter, Facebook and Instagram — our team is always available to help with questions and solve issues. Sometimes, we get some nice virtual fist-bumps about this:

And we didn’t just do it because he wields Mjölnir
So much love. Makes our day.

The insights

Every relationship starts with a ‘come hither’ — the hello, the wink, the first smile.

The first touch-point for many of our customers comes when they want to open an account. In Nigeria, this is an arduous process involving filling long forms, trips to the branch, dealing with queues. Yeah, opening a bank account is hardly ever described as ‘easy, intuitive, well-designed’ etc.

Na wa. It’s true but na wa, still.

Last year, we opened 340,793 bank accounts through our branches with a typical turnaround time of 24 hours. This involved 1,022,379 sheets of paper, 8,179,032 hours of manual work by our back-office teams and some dissatisfaction from our customers. We were working really hard but, based on logistics, getting there too slowly.

In contrast, we had over 47 million impressions across our social media profiles and received about 10 million unique visits to our websites. Many of these people have told us they’d love a way to open an account online.

We had to say no to her at the time
Oh dear. Why can’t we do this?
2 years of saying “No” just wore us out.

The Design

We are a mobile-first country, perhaps even mobile-only for most people with internet access?

Nigeria’s active internet population ballooned primarily off the back of mobile connectivity. The mobile-first approach avers that mobile design, as the hardest, should be done first.

More important, though, is that our mobile-first approach is also a content-first approach. Mobile is limited, with screen size and bandwidth restrictions especially, so our different iterations saw us focusing ruthlessly on content each time.

We asked ourselves often — “Is this easy?”

Design is often a battle between delivering functionality and delivering ease of use.

The solution

We had to completely re-imagine this first touch with the conviction that opening a bank account should not be harder than opening an Instagram account. Abi?

We just opened our largest branch ever — on the Internet!

We analyzed the traditional account opening forms and thought about how to cut out all the fluff and focus on the most essential fields.

Undoubtedly the easiest. Click here to confirm.

We also had to figure out how to harness existing data sources, starting with the Bank Verification Number (BVN). A BVN holds essential data that we can get without needing a prospective customer to enter it all over again.

We just opened our largest branch ever — on the Internet! This instant account opening service is now in open beta. Go on, see for yourself. Click below:

We’ll be here for a while, learning, tweaking and improving the service.

The people who want Stanbic IBTC are exceptional and demand best in class digital banking and investing options, we’re now firmly on the journey to deliver these.

Welcome to the future. We’ll never stop moving you forward.