Going on the digital offensive: WATCH ABSA's Brett St Clair at #afta16 #findaba16

It may be fashionable to talk about disruptive startups when describing the FinTech scene, but its story also covers traditional banking institutions that have made great strides in delivering a digital banking experience to their customers and overcoming cultural and bureaucratic challenges in the process.

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In his pitch at the African FinTech Awards at the Finance Indaba Africa 2016 in October, representing ABSA in the Incumbent Bank category, former Google man and the bank's Head of Digital Services Brett St Clair charted the bank's rise from an organisation bogged down by legacy systems, cultural push-back and a poor digital experience to an agile one featuring human-centred product experiences designed by the customers themselves.

"We went from a red disaster of a 'penknife' to truly listening to our customers. We had 2 000 of them go through a three-month process, which usually took two years. We started listening to them, going through labs, tracking their eyes and learning what they actually wanted. We started tracking our errors and became quirky about them. We start a huge social upliftment project at ABSA."

The African FinTech Awards celebrate innovators that shape the future of finance, and acknowledges the work these companies are doing to have a positive impact on their target markets. The nominees were chosen by a panel of industry experts, stakeholders and investors from all over the world, who selected the three finalists in six categories to deliver their pitch at the Indaba.

The Finance Indaba is the biggest annual event on the continent for financial managers and specialists who are seeking partnerships to drive progress. Thousands of delegates will gain valuable insights into realising financial performance and growth, becoming more efficient and accessing funding, among a host of other opportunities from leading players in financial services.