Union Bank borrows some of Uber’s features in its revamped mobile app

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Union bank appears to have worked with a sharp ICT team on its revamped mobile banking app. One of the features of the app, is that it locates available cash collection agents so customers can deposit or withdraw. The app also locates working ATMs and enables customers to withdraw cash without their ATM cards using a phone. This is a similar concept with ride-sharing app uber which locates available drivers for trips, and monitors their progress as they link up with intending passengers.

Why is this feature very useful?

The app informing customers of working ATMs, saves customers the time they would have used to manually check by slotting their cards. Repeated slotting of ATM cards in a defective machine often leads to the machine ‘swallowing’ their cards or money being deducted from an account without being dispensed. Locating a cash collection agent saves customers the stress of going to the bank to deposit or collect money.

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How the bank stands to gain

Making a mobile app that meets customer needs, increases the volume of transactions that will be conducted using the mobile app. That translates to more revenue for the bank. Banks have focused their attention on digital banking solutions as financial technology ( fintech) firms have come up with innovative solutions that have swayed customers. Wema bank, has come up with ALAT, a wholly digital bank. Stanbic Ibtc had also recently launched Appyness its mobile app that encompasses all the services provided by the Stanbic Ibtc group. Access bank, has created a department solely devoted to fintech.

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Banks are also looking for other sources of revenue, as a possible fall in interest rates could lead to a drop in their income. Tier 2 banks like Union, are in a tighter spot, because they have to pay a higher rate to attract deposits, but at the same time loan at a rate lower than tier one banks who dominate the banking industry. Union Bank yesterday released its HY June 2017 unaudited financial statements. Gross earnings increased from N43 billion in 2016 to N58 billion in 2017. Profit before tax however declined from N.8.9 billion in 2016 to N9.4 billion in 2017. Union Bank closed yesterday at N5.43 on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) down 1.27% year to date .

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