Polaris Bank set to launch new digital bank

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Polaris Bank has concluded arrangements to launch a new digital bank as the fast-growing retail bank seeks to harness global increase in the e-payment systems.

Sources close to the bank said the new digital bank, which is due to be launched this week, has for some time been in test mode among the bank’s staff and customers.

Polaris Bank is targeting to grow its market share by carving a niche within a new generation of digital natives and immigrants who are socially and financially aware of innovations in self-service and stress-free transactions.

Sources said the long wait, which greeted the launch was to ensure that the platform is robust enough to meet prevailing global standards and support other existing entities in the digital banking ecosystem.

As part of its enterprise transformation initiatives, the bank had overhauled its information technology (IT) infrastructure within the last two years and upgraded its digital capability.

Polaris’ digital bank will offer a suite of services not readily provided by competitors including access to instant loans, accessing the platform service without being a prior customer of the bank, and end-to-end account opening without entering a physical bank.

One of the competitive benefits of the bank is its creation of a collaborative ecosystem that enables Application Programming Interface (API) banking, which refers to a system that makes a bank’s services available to other third-party companies via APIs. API banking helps both banks and third-party companies augment their complementary specialties and offerings more than they can provide to their customers by themselves.

Through its API, Polaris Bank had on-boarded new business start-ups, improved their market access, and ensured profit sharing with partners within the financial technology space. The agro-businesses, educational institutions, e-commerce, are all set to benefit from the bank’s platform.

READ ALSO: COVID-19: Polaris Bank commends medics, restates commitment to service delivery

Managing Director, Polaris Bank, Mr. Innocent Ike said investment in technology has seen the bank growing to earn the confidence of the banking publics, as it has been able to offer quality banking services at the cutting edge of technology.

Market analysts had commended the bank’s recently published 2020 financial performance, which further earned the bank’s digital transformation efforts a shot in the arm.

According to recent data by the Nigeria Interbank Settlement System (NIBSS), the volume of e-payment transactions increased by 80 percent year-on-year to 54.07 billion in the first quarter of 2021 from 30.04 billion in the same period of last year.

As a result of the rise in e-payment transactions, income generated by banks via electronic channel transactions also increased by around 52 percent to N53.4 billion in the period under review compared with N35.2 billion in the same period of last year. Youngsters and digital native enterprises constitute most of the population and the early adopters of digital innovation and lifestyle.

Market analysts expected that with the entry of Polaris Bank into the digital banking space, the bank is expected to close of 2021 financial year in a stronger position, with general expectations that the 2020 NIBSS figures will grow exponentially, bolstering the overall performance of the country’s e-payment ecosystem.

Polaris Bank is a member of the United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI), which seeks to engage the private sector and the global financial sector to help create a financial sector that serves people and the planet while delivering positive impact.

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