Customers can do everything from transferring funds to paying bills and applying for loans online and through mobile. Photo / SUMAC

Sumac Microfinance Bank is set to rolout digital banking to cater to tech-savvy customers. Considered the second fastest growing microfinance bank in Kenya, Sumac management says there is growing demand for digital banking services.

Sumac CEO John Njihia says the move is long overdue, adding that the board fast-tracked the process of ensuring Sumac finally can serve clients from various digital and online platforms.

“It has been months of working hard and round the clock to ensure we establish a functional, user-friendly and sustainable digital banking platform,” Mr Njihia says. “We are grateful to the Board of Directors for providing the necessary framework and environment to ensure we can finally serve on this very important front.”

Digital banking goes beyond simply checking your account balance online. It brings all of a bank’s services online through online portals and banking apps, so that customers can do everything from transferring funds to paying bills and applying for loans. Sumac is finally able to offer its clients this critical service, which has been direly needed across its branch networks.

“Our customers will soon be able to enjoy digital banking, meaning they will not need to visit our branch network to do their transactions,” Mr Njihia says. “Though there are some activities that may require presence in the bank, those will be very limited to a case by case scenario. I’m happy that we have finally come to this important juncture in the bank’s quest to be a 21st century financial institution.”

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The launch comes after injection of funds by Dubai-based investment firm Badoer Investments Ltd which pumped Ksh100 million ($1 million) into Sumac Microfinance Bank, taking up 15.6% stake in the SME lender. The deal, valued Sumac at Ksh641 million, gave the company’s founder Ricardo Badoer a seat on the Sumac board.

The recent evolution and expansion of online and digital banking was – in large part – a result of the 2007 launch of the iPhone, which put a personal computer in everyone’s pocket. Online and digital banking has progressively become more interactive and expansive, transitioning from a shallow front-end banking experience to the digital banking experience that most people are familiar with today.

“Digital banking puts financial power at the customers’ fingertips,” Mr Njihia adds. “One digital banking app – either accessed through mobile or online – saves time on transactions that have historically taken 20-30 minutes at a traditional brick-and-motor bank.

Some of the major digital banking services that will be available to Sumac clients will include; money deposits, withdrawals and transfers, checking/savings account management, applying for financial products, loan management, bill payments and account services.

Managing money has never been easier for customers with quick access to paybill tools, person-to-person money transfers, and loan management. And these are the benefits that Sumac is about to offer to its clients as we roll out digital banking services.”

Some of the major digital banking services that will be available to Sumac clients will include; Money deposits, withdrawals and transfers, checking/Savings Account management, applying for financial products, loan management, bill payments and Account services.

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Clients will also be able to open deposit accounts using the digital platform, and attach KYC documents. This applies even to diaspora clients who do not essentially therefore need to travel to Kenya to open deposit accounts.

KYC documents are the items required to establish one’s identity at the time of opening of savings bank account, fixed deposit, joint accounts or any other related deposit account available at the bank.

“On behalf of the Board of Sumac Microfinance Bank, I’d like to thank our clients for their patience as we worked tirelessly to bring digital banking into our fold. We owe each client tremendous gratitude for their continued belief in our service delivery and in our vision as a bank,” Mr Njihia says. “We look forward to serving you better, now that we have brought banking closer home, into your pocket and on your desk. Digital banking is the way to go.”

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