StanChart to close 50% of branches in Nigeria

According to persons familiar with the situation, Standard Chartered Plc is liquidating approximately half of its Nigerian branches in a move to digital banking as the finance industry faces competition from mobile money providers.

According to a document reviewed by Bloomberg News, the London-listed lender’s local unit began closing several offices in December and will eventually operate only 13 branches in the West African country, down from approximately 25 previously.

Based on information from sources who spoke on the condition of anonymity, Standard Chartered is bolstering mobile banking and recruiting agents to reach out to new customers and manage cash deposits and withdrawals across Africa’s largest economy.

The bank, through a spokeswoman, declined to comment, noting that it will address future plans at the “appropriate time.”

StanChart’s move reflects efforts by Nigerian institutions to embrace digital banking amid a fintech boom that has pushed much of Africa to the forefront of the mobile money revolution.

Lenders such as Access Bank Plc and First Bank of Nigeria have shunned plans to add branches in favour of strategies to expand networks of authorized agents, or salespersons in underbanked areas to sell their offerings.

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