Sparks are flying across the treasury landscape in Africa as digital cash management and e-payments become the order of the day. Dushen Thathiah, Head, Cash Management for Transactional Products & Services, Standard Bank, explains why API-driven ‘integrated’ channels are on treasury leaders’ lips and outlines the cash management risks and opportunities resulting from Africa’s digital sunrise.
Eleanor Hill, Editor, TMI (EH): How are treasurers’ channel choices changing when looking to access cash management and payment services in Africa?
Dushen Thathiah (DT): No one can deny that the traditional image of banking in Africa revolves heavily around physical branches. In fact, Standard Bank’s branch network has long been a competitive differentiator. Clients have enjoyed being able to easily access our cash management services through our local branches, which catered to client needs and reflected their ecosystem.
Over the past decade, however, a significant shift has taken place towards digital rather than physical channels. It’s hard to believe, but 80% of clients’ transactions are now executed via electronic platforms rather than in a branch. This shows the popularity of what I like to call ‘interactive’ channels.
We’re also seeing the rise of ‘integrated’ channels among larger multinational corporates who want seamless integration between the bank and their enterprise resource planning [ERP] system – either via host-to-host [H2H] or application programming interface [API] connectivity. Nevertheless, among the local corporates in Africa electronic banking platforms, such as internet portals, are more prevalent.