Many things will be blamed on #COVID19 that were not caused by it. Many trends started before it and the crisis only accelerated the outcomes. The African financial services space, in particular, was already seeing a metamorphosis in 2019 towards agents. December was the peak.
A telco entered the agent market in Nigeria last year and surprisingly accelerated the transaction volumes of existing schemes by creating more awareness. This trend has continued to gain momentum. Branches will be closed. A new predominant service model will emerge.
Banks don't really understand how this new retail paradigm will work yet, but a couple of the biggest banks are pouring tremendous resources into it. They still cant match telco. PSBs will inevitably launch and the retail space will be permanently transformed.
The banks were given over a decade headstart but they decided to use that time to sell telco airtime via USSD instead. They are now between the telcos and the sharp new fintechs. What this crisis has also done is allow the regulator to consider the unthinkable.
It may just let some banks die or be taken over by telcos or fintechs.
This is now a new acquisition era.
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