GTCO parent company of GTBank has unveiled a new product called SquadCo within its HabariPay subsidiary after an approval by the Central Bank of Nigeria for the company wholly owned by the group.
“Payments are central to the development of financial services globally and represent a key growth area for the group. With HabariPay, we have successfully created another pathway towards enhancing the service experience for our customers and creating more value for our stakeholders,” said CEO Segun Agbaje.
As I noted in Feb 2022, GTBank is going through a 3rd metamorphosis, and unification of everything is going to be part of this future. It needs to get it right because MTN Nigeria has disintermediated many domains of financial services and has positioned itself to capture significant value. That explains why the market cap of MTN Nigeria is larger than all banks, insurers and other financial institutions combined in Nigeria.
The banks of the future will be pure play technology companies which offer banking services. Telecom firms and fintechs have positioned themselves already for that future. GTBank and other banks are working hard to insert themselves at scale. Simply, they want to play at the edges of the smiling curve.
In November 2018 when I wrote ‘GTBank’s Everything “Habari” Banking – Raps, Sings, Styles, Shops, Pays and More’, I saw a grand unification but also cautioned that “It may make the local banking giant lose an identity”.
GTBank was playing the duality element where products are also platforms; that plan did not work out well. But with HabariPay’s SquadCo injection, GTBank has a chance to capture value using the one oasis and double play strategies.
The banking main subsidiary is the one oasis and HabariPay can be part of a play. Great strategy; it comes down to execution on the powers of (native) digital entrepreneurs. And call it an irony: when a bank goes fintech, it says bye bye to “nice” fees because fintech is nothing but disintermediation of banking services with optimized services.
This week, GTCO, Nigeria’s second biggest lender by market value, launched a fintech unit named SquadCo, which eases the path for it to offer services and products including, e-commerce, payment gateway and Soft POS. SquadCo is a product of HabariPay.
Rival Access Holdings completed its evolution to a holding company in April, a move that will enable it to branch out into payments and other financial services while Sterling Bank is on track to adopt a similar structure.
“Our vision is an Africa where every payment is digital, and we hope to achieve this by increasingly leveraging technology to improve access to financial services for individuals and empower businesses across Africa with the right digital tools to thrive,” Mr Agbaje said.
Early in February, GTCO announced purchase of Investment One Funds Management Limited and Investment One Pension Managers Limited as the group diversified into pension and asset management at a time earnings from its core banking business were becoming inadequate to sustain profit growth.