Digitization and its impact on jobs in banking sector

Although local commercial bank’s top executive management does not want to be drawn into confirming the matter, there are fears of job losses in the banking sector due to banks moving from the brick and mortar to digitization.

Recently, Standard Chartered Bank Botswana Chief Executive Officer, Mpho Masupe emphasized that the bank is moving at a faster pace into digitization, away from brick and mortar.

Questioned if there are any anticipated job losses, Masupe was non-committal, saying however they do not digitize in order to cut jobs but would not rule out the possibility.

The 2017 Annual Banking Supervision Report indicates that the local banks, including statutory banks, employ a total of 5176 people.

Just across the border in South Africa, Standard Bank recently closed over 90 branches, resulting in job losses of over 1 200 as part of the digital shift.

Local banks have also for some time now been preaching digitization, as customers too preferred to carry out transactions at their comfort and fingertips.

With banks going this route, experts believe the future of banking lies in the digital space, meaning the future of over 5 000 employees currently absorbed by the banking sector could hang in the balance.

Speaking to Voice Money this week, the banking sector analyst opines that unlike in South Africa where Standard Bank closed branches resulting in job losses, moving to the digital space here in Botswana brings more benefits and opportunities.

He explained that moving into the digital space would actually mean banks will require a new set of skills to fully implement their digital strategy.

The analyst who spoke on condition of anonymity said the closing of branches in other countries could not be squarely blamed on transforming into the digital space but could be influenced by other factors such as lack of profitability.

He believes banks going digital will also further complement efforts of banking the unbanked and ensuring financial inclusion, saying this is essentially a positive move by banks.

“For now we don’t see any risk of job losses in the banking sector, because technology has to be aligned with what customers needs,” he said, adding that Financial Technology (FinTech) would not certainly replace human beings.

The analyst believes this presents a good opportunity for innovators to introduce their ideas that will be needed in the future of the banking, which is digital.

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