Banks must reconsider core competency: WATCH Standard Bank's Danielle Laity at #afta16 #findaba16

As the oldest bank in the country, Standard Bank has a lot of challenges to overcome in terms of legacy systems. During her pitch at the African FinTech Awards at the Finance Indaba Africa 2016 in October, the bank’s manager of innovation capability Danielle Laity explained what her organisation was doing to better serve its customers in an era marked by fear in the banking sector amid the threat of being unbundled and attacked.

Laity said Standard Bank had been talking to Henry Chesbrough, the "godfather of open innovation", about its corporate strategy and becoming permeable to the environment. She explained that she and her colleagues had also been talking to thought leaders, entrepreneurs and customers to find out how banks benefitted them.

"It turns out that banks are still trusted but are relevant in a different way and need to reconsider their core competency as a value exchange. Banks today have beautiful core banking systems and silos of categories of products. We force products on them that don't really speak to their lives. They don't really want a student loan, they want to get an education to become valuable members of our economy. They don't want to get a home loan, they want a home. They don't want to have a savings account, they want to prepare for the future."

She said that one of the innovative products that Standard Bank had developed, in conjunction with Frontier Labs, with its strategic Agora approach to generate new revenues was the Phoenix student crowdfunding platform called Phoenix. The platform allowed external donors and companies to contribute to the needs of individual students based on their profiles. Laity was confident that the product "served a real need within society.

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.