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Standard Chartered Bank To Closedown Half Of Nigeria Branches.

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Standard Chartered Plc announced plans to shutdown near half of its Nigerian branches to refocus on digital banking, owing to growing population adaptation to digital finance and mobile money providers.

According to a document obtained by Bloomberg News, Standard Chartered is instead strengthening mobile banking and recruiting agents to reach new customers and handle cash deposits and withdrawals across Africa’s biggest economy, said the people, who asked not to be identified because they aren’t authorised to speak publicly.

A spokesperson for the bank declined to comment and said it would address future plans at the “appropriate time.”

The shift by StanChart mirrors efforts by Nigerian lenders to embrace digital banking amid a fintech boom that’s put much of Africa at the cutting edge of the revolution in mobile money.

But instead of opening more physical branches, banks including Access Bank Plc and First Bank of Nigeria are also curbing costs by building networks of authorized agents, or people within communities to sell their products and services.

Standard Chartered has focused on corporate banking since establishing a presence in Nigeria in 1999.

But it’s recently looked to expand its retail base and outlined a target in 2019 to grow the number of its customers fivefold from 100,000 in about two years by using digital technology to onboard clients faster.

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