- Kuda Bank blazed into Nigerian bank industry in 2017 as the then digital-only bank and has been winning hearts
- Kuda employs technology as part of its advantage over conventional banks and targets the youthful population in Nigeria
- Experts are divided over the viability of Kuda's model but believe its novel and commendable in the face of emerging tech era
For the most part, Kuda Bank is branchless. Meaning it has no physical structures, nowhere to physically go and lay complaints if anything goes amiss.
But it has not deterred Nigerians, especially the youths from operating an account with it.
As of the last count, the bank has amassed over 1.4 million customers since it came on stream in 2017, five years ago.
It is challenging the traditional banks with physical branches and structures to dance and it is winning.
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The lure for Kuda customers
The bank is largely targeted at the suave, tech-savvy and ever-growing youthful population in Nigeria.
At the tap of a button, prospective depositors have opened accounts with Kuda and their service delivery is top-notch.
Their use of technology in operations is the main lure for people who prefer convenient banking and ease.
Ifeanyi Udeozor, a financial analyst tells Legit that Kuda Bank had studied the tech ecosystem in Nigeria and known that operating a digital-only bank will fly in a population that is familiar with the use of smartphones and smart devices.
“I feel that the bank knows the psychology of Nigerians very well. They know that their model will resonate with certain demography in Nigeria. They don’t care about the others which, they are just doing their thing and they winning hearts for it.
Riding on the back of goodwill
Last year, the bank raised a whopping $55 million in a funding round that has seen it expand its operations.
The $55M Series B round comes on hills of a $25 million Series A round announced just a little over four months earlier, raising the startup’s valuation to $500 million.
Business Insider reports that the co-founder and CEO Babs Ogundeyi explained that the money would be used to double down on new services for Nigeria and prepare its launch into more countries on the continent.
What Ogundeyi said:
“We’ve been doing a lot of resource deployment in our operational entity, in Nigeria. But now we are doubling down on expansion, and the idea is to build a strong team for the expansion plans for Kuda. We still see Nigeria as an important market and don’t want to be distracted, so we don’t want to disrupt those operations too much. It’s a strong market and competitive. It’s one that we feel we need to have a stronghold on. So this funding is to invest in expansion and have more experience in the company with relation to expansion.
For Babs and Musty, it was always about building a pan-African bank, not just a Nigerian leader, said Ricardo Schäfer, the partner at Target Global. The prospect of banking over 1 billion people from day one really stood out for me at the beginning.”
Tech-savvy and quick response
Udeozor said that the bank will not just trounce the existing commercial banks which have stayed stuck in the past but surpass them in terms of goodwill.
“They are quick to respond to issues. They send updates when things aren’t going right. Either by email or in-app message, Kuda bank makes sure you don’t miss any information they are trying to pass around.
Kelechi Okoro, a former banker and analyst that traditional banks are becoming greedy and throwing everything about customer service to the winds.
“They are not just greedy but heady and proud. Their staff treat customers with disrespect in most cases. Their customer services are deteriorating fast.”
I am not surprised why the young population today are flocking to digital banks like Kuda.
But, Jide Okeowo, a journalist does not believe Kuda is quite there yet. He said most Nigerians are still sceptical about the internet.
"Many Nigerians, including myself, believe in seeing believing. How am I going to trace my money if something catastrophic happens? I believe in walking into a bank, looking the people there in the eye and see them handle my problem."
Top savings platforms paying higher interest rates than banks in Nigeria
Legit.ng has reported that the Nigerian financial industry landscape is laced with interesting options, most of which give users the ability to make a choice that allows them optimal use.
While some banks in Nigeria are paying higher interest to depositors for saving money with them, others are just there to make profits and post interesting figures at the end of their financial year.
The minimum interest rate approved by a regulatory agency like the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is 1.5 per cent.