Standard Chartered Plc is closing half of its Nigerian branches to embrace digital banking, sources familiar with the matter have revealed.
The London-listed lender’s local unit began closing offices in December.
Bloomberg reported on Monday that the firm plans to operate only 13 branches in Nigeria, down from about 25.
Standard Chartered, the platform gathered, wants to strengthen mobile banking and recruit agents to reach new customers and handle cash deposits and withdrawals across the West African country.
A spokeswoman for the bank declined to comment and said it would address future plans at the “appropriate time.”
Last November, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) granted approval in principle for payment service bank (PSB) licenses to MTN Nigeria and Airtel Africa as part of its objective of enhancing financial inclusion and the development of the payment system through a secured technology-driven environment.
The enhanced financial inclusion will also help increase access to deposit products and payment/remittance services to small businesses, low-income households and other financially excluded entities through high-volume low-value transactions in a secured technology-driven environment.
Lenders are deploying mobile money services on a vast scale in Nigeria to tap the market of the unbanked population comprising approximately 38 million adults, which Dataphyte estimated to be worth N26.2 trillion for the first 11 months of last year.