The regional operation of South African financial services group Absa has been recognised as the best retail bank on the continent, the institution said on Thursday.
In a statement, Absa said it won the honour at this year’s Global Retail Banking Innovation Awards, which focus on commending cutting-edge banks that blend the best technology with service-oriented mindsets to raise the bar in consumer banking.
The judging panel, comprising experts from leading consultancies including EY and Forrester, selected Absa Regional Operations after it successfully completed one of the banking sector’s largest and most complex separation programmes from London-based former parent company Barclays.
In addition, the bank demonstrated a “swift and strategic response to the Covid-19 pandemic, not only assisting customers with payment relief initiatives but also contributing extensively to local social relief efforts”.
The accolade also encompassed Absa’s role in driving financial inclusion across the continent.
“As a digitally-led bank, we collaborated with innovative partners such as technology platform provider, JUMO, and a mobile network operator, MTN, to provide loans to underserved customers via mobile in Zambia and Ghana,” said Vimal Kumar, chief executive of retail & business banking at Absa Regional Operations.
“In addition, our Customer 360 data analytics platform has assisted us in anticipating the changing needs of our customers through predictive modelling and multifaceted data science approaches.”
The awards are an initiative of business magazine The Digital Banker. Its managing director magazine Nirav Patel said digital technology had been the impetus to a wave of innovations, both in the front end and back end of banking.
“This has allowed Absa and its regional operation to flourish as a leading and digital-first African financial services group,” said Patel.
“The bank is able to deliver customer experiences that are seamless, convenient and safe to use – and for that they truly deserved to win this award.”