Vimal Kumar, Chief Executive Retail & Business Banking and Chief Digital Officer at Absa Group, Absa Regional Operations ·

Absa Group Limited’s Regional Operations (ARO) has been recognised as the leading industry player at this year’s Global Retail Banking Innovation Awards (GRB). A Digital Banker initiative, the awards focus on commending cutting-edge banks that blend the best technology with service-oriented mindsets to raise the bar in consumer banking.

The judging panel – comprising experts from leading consultancies including EY and Forrester – selected ARO based on its significant achievements across Africa to date, including successfully completing one of the banking sector’s largest and most complex separation programmes from Barclays PLC. In addition, ARO demonstrated a swift and strategic response to the COVID-19 pandemic, not only assisting customers with payment relief initiatives but also contributing extensively to local social relief efforts.

This accolade also encompassed the bank’s role in driving financial inclusion across the continent. Says Vimal Kumar, Chief Executive of Retail & Business Banking, Digital and CX at Absa Regional Operations, “As a digitally-led bank, our focus is towards leveraging technology to provide high quality and affordable services evidenced by innovations rolled out across the continent including pioneer contactless functionality on Absa debit cards in Uganda, the NovoFX app a mobile application that allows retail customers make cross-border payments in different currencies and the first ever online trade finance portal allowing customers to apply for financing online.”

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According to Nirav Patel, Managing Director at The Digital Banker, digital has been an impetus to a wave of innovations, both in front-end and back-end. “This has allowed Absa, and its regional operation, to flourish as a leading and digital-first African financial services group. The bank is able to deliver customer experiences that are seamless, convenient and safe to use  and for that they truly deserved to win this award.”

Absa’s approach going forward will be to continue to place the customer at the heart of everything that it does. Adds Kumar, “For Absa, creating opportunities for our customers to make their possibility come alive is a mission always supported by action.”

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