The explosive potential of digital banking in Sub-Saharan Africa: Interview with Timothy Nuy

Digital banking holds significant potential in Sub-Saharan Africa, where traditional banking services are often limited in reach. By leveraging mobile technology and new platforms, digital banking can provide access to financial services for the unbanked and underbanked populations. Whilst fostering financial inclusion and economic empowerment. Additionally, it can drive efficiency, reduce costs, and enhance customer experiences, offering convenient and secure financial solutions to a rapidly growing consumer base in the region. Fintech Review asked a few questions to Timothy Nuy, Founder of Fin.

Tell us more about yourself. What is your elevator pitch?

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Founded in 2019, Fin is an African credit-led neobanking platform. Fin is simply smarter finance for everybody. Together with its partners, the company is providing credit, wallets, savings, insurance and more; fast, convenient and reliable.

With traditional financial institutions unable to address the increasing credit gap in Sub-Saharan Africa, Fin aims to drive financial inclusion in the region through its digital solutions and proprietary credit risk technology. The company uses AI algorithms to provide an array of credit-centric products. That is including traditional credit, embedded credit and BNPL, combined with a suit of further financial services for its clients including wallets, savings and insurance. Fin currently operates in South Africa, Kenya, and Tanzania. 

What have been the key trends in Sub-Saharan African banking over the past few years?

Continued focus on the large banks on corporate banking and private wealth, effectively ignoring the emerging middle class with effective financial services. This may inadvertently neglect the emerging middle class, hindering their access to effective financial services. This oversight prevents the middle class from fully participating in economic growth, stifling their potential and limiting opportunities for financial inclusion and upward mobility.

Furthermore, many of the fintech offerings are limited to transactional services, or at best nano-credit. With very few others providing substantial sizeable financial services to their clients.

According to you, are there any industry players such as Fin that stand out?

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Newcomers to the Sub-Saharan African banking industry have an opportunity to disrupt the traditional landscape by leveraging technology, innovation, and customer-centric approaches. With a large unbanked population and limited access to financial services, there is a significant market gap for new players to address. By offering tailored solutions, focusing on financial inclusion, and embracing digital transformation, newcomers can drive competition. Whilst they expand market reach, and contribute to the region’s economic development.

We believe we have built a unique offering, however, for example FairMoney and Carbon have built strong offerigns in Nigeria. Capitec and Tyme remain strong in South Africa.

What are your predictions for the future of banking in Sub-Saharan Africa?

Mobile money will be the catalyst to really transform the banking space. It has the potential to be a transformative catalyst in the banking space across Africa. With a large portion of the population having access to mobile phones rather than traditional bank accounts, mobile money platforms can bring essential financial services to underserved populations. By leveraging mobile technology, individuals can easily send, receive, and store money, make payments, access credit, and engage in financial transactions. Ultimately empowering them to manage their finances and participate more fully in the formal economy. Consequently, this digital revolution in banking has the capacity to foster financial inclusion, drive economic growth, and transform the financial landscape in Africa.

Furthemore, there is an opportunity to really drive market share through a credit-led approach. There is a significant opportunity to drive market share in Africa through a credit-led approach. By leveraging technology and data analytics, financial institutions can extend credit to underserved populations. Including small businesses and individuals, who have limited access to traditional banking services. This approach not only addresses a pressing need for capital but also cultivates customer loyalty and positions institutions at the forefront of Africa’s burgeoning credit market.

Any other innovation in fintech elsewhere that you are really excited about?

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We think the capital market structures in Brazil are super exciting and leading the trends for emerging markets. There’s effective refinancing possible up to 100% LTV – allowing fintechs to access capital markets and service end customers.

Indeed the exciting capital market structures in Brazil have relevance for Africa as they offer potential inspiration and lessons for developing efficient and inclusive financial systems. By exploring similar refinancing opportunities and leveraging fintech innovation, African countries can unlock access to capital markets, enabling fintechs to secure funding and better serve end customers, promoting economic growth and financial inclusion in the region.