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Africa’s Biggest Bank Standard Bank Group Moves to Fend Off Fintech Rivals

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Standard Bank Group Ltd., Africa’s largest lender by assets, is planning to scale-up some of its operations on the continent and further digitize its systems to fend off fintech firms encroaching on its client base.

Standard Bank’s expansion drive will focus on building bigger businesses in French-speaking African countries and East African nations, according to the bank’s CEO, Sim Tshabalala.

The bank has already launched an app to keep track of staff working from home and to help with daily symptom checks, arranged transport for essential staff, and paid customer-facing employees’ bonuses.

In South Africa, where Standard Bank makes most of its profit, credit growth has slowed due to a lack of demand in the wake of the pandemic. The number of people with jobs in the country fell to the lowest level in almost a decade in the second quarter, while gross domestic product shrank 51% quarter-on-quarter, the deepest slump since at least 1990.

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