Patrick Akinwuntan, chairman of the advisory board for Retail Banking Council Africa (RBCA) told CNBC Africa that the RBCA would encourage deeper relationships between banks, telcos and fintechs in order to offer every African access to financial services and financial assets. The RBCA advisory board chairman said his main focus was on digitisation and helping the unbanked to become part of the economic ecosystem. Mr Akinwuntan noted that the M-Pesa success story does not obscure the fact that Kenyan banks now have 40 million customers, more than M-Pesa's 35 million customers, so banks and telcos were essentially in partnership regarding financial inclusion. "When you look at Africa and the challenges that we had in the past — in the current environment, particularly with technology, with the ubiquity of the mobile phone — there is the opportunity to breach that last mile and bring banking to every household: that's what retail banking seeks to do", said Mr Akinwuntan, who is group executive director of consumer banking at Ecobank. Also commenting on the future of retail banking in Africa, Lafferty Group CEO Evelyn Hunter said, "The banks need to develop the skills and expertise to partner, so we're looking at a three-way partnership model — on the one hand with the telcos, but also with fintechs. So, there is a drive towards effective collaboration opportunities and partnerships."
HSBC has appointed John Flint as the bank's new CEO, a move that will see Mr Flint — currently running the bank's retail banking and wealth management operations — succeed Stuart Gulliver as chief executive from 21 February next year. Although regulators in London had been encouraging the appointment of an outsider, an internal candidate was picked. As reported by the Financial Times, Mr Gulliver said that "my primary role as group CEO is stewardship and to hand the company to my successor in better shape than when I started. With Mark [Tucker] and John leading the organisation, it is in great hands".
The recent bailout of two Russian banks — Otkritie and B&N — is proving more costly than initially estimated. The first combined forecast was around 750 billion rubles ($13 billion), but that number has risen by around 70 billion rubles following apparent recalculations from the central bank. Speaking on state television during the week, the deputy chairman of the central bank, Vasily Pozdyshev, repeated assurances that the country's banks were sound but noted that "new bailouts could still happen because no one bank is insured against a serious outflow".
Canada is giving Sweden a run for its digital money: according to a recent report from Forex Bonuses, Canadians are the most advanced country in the world when it comes to embracing cashless technology. The study — which took a number of varying factors into consideration, including the number of credit cards per person, the performance of cashless payments over five years, amount of payment transactions made — found that, on a scale of one to ten for cashlessness, Canada scored 6.48, while Sweden scored 6.47. The Swedes can actually boast a higher percentage of non-cash payments, with 59 percent, compared to 57 percent for Canadians, so Canada still has some catching up to do.
Finally, full implementation of Basel III regulations might be delayed in India beyond the current March 2019 deadline. The banking sector already has its hands full dealing with demonetisation and the roll-out of the new Goods and Services Tax (GST). "Even as we acknowledge the positive impact of such reforms, we are convinced that perhaps the Indian banking sector deserves a small interregnum so as to meaningfully concentrate on issues related to financial inclusion, asset quality and credit growth," a State Bank of India report said.
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