- Umba is an African digital bank.
- African digital banks face unique challenges, from onboarding to real-time credit risk analyses.
- Okra has made it possible for digital banks like Umba to tackle these challenges Okra's APIs.
Umba aims to make full banking services available to all Africans. According to a 2019 report by the GSM Association, 280 million Africans have access to the internet. For context, that number is a 16% increase from 2013, and it keeps rising. As internet penetration in Africa increases, Umba ensures that the rise comes with improved financial access and impact.
For years, the internet has served as an equaliser across the globe—particularly in developing countries. However, it has not equalised much, financially, for countries in Africa. Getting people to download digital banks is great, but using these banks is the real work.
Leaning on the World Bank's indicators for financial inclusion, we have further proof on why owning a bank account alone does not constitute true financial inclusion. According to the world's apex bank, it extends to impact quality, which is only possible with usage. And digital banks can only make such an impact when they overcome the challenges peculiar to operating in Africa.
The Challenges for African Digital Banks
With digital banks, all Africans can enjoy full banking services. From loans to peer-to-peer transfers and digital savings & investments, the average African with mobile internet gets to do more financially! It has opened up all bank services to anyone, regardless of income level, with the following services:
- Free bank accounts
- Instant loans
- Wealth management (Savings & Investments)
Despite these offerings, there are still excruciating pain points that come with operating as a successful digital bank in Africa:
- Onboarding customers.
- Analysing transactions to offer personalised credits and tailored wealth advice at scale.
Solving for Africa with Okra
Committed to driving better customer experiences, Tiernan Kennedy, CEO at Umba, said:
"Okra allows Umba users to seamlessly add their bank accounts to the service, and supply their transaction history, without clunky document uploads and OCR approaches. Our customers can then obtain better-tailored services, as Umba has a far better understanding of their financial profile. This technology is allowing us to learn more and improve our offering more with every customer that joins."
That is, with Okra, digital banks like Umba can leverage our APIs to:
- Grow their market share with a better customer experience at a pace that can only be powered by open finance APIs.
- Expand their offerings through richer data points that lower operational risks.
The primary customer of any digital bank is the undeserved digital African that wants a better experience and access to more financial products. As mentioned earlier, there are hurdles to adoption. Here's how Umba makes adoption easier with Okra:
Analyses of transactions
Here's where things get better. For improved access to advanced features, like loans, Umba studies the transaction patterns of its customers. A credit verification system has been built with these patterns to provide instant loans for its customers.
These patterns go beyond the customer's history on Umba and include history from other banks approved by the customer. Okra's Transactions product makes such analyses possible.
Higher payback rates
When providing credit, the data is important, but getting paid back is another challenge. Using the Balance product, Umba can charge paybacks differently. This Balance product is useful for retrieving partial payments when the full amount is unavailable instead of a failed payment. For example, a partial payment will occur if a customer is meant to pay back $50 and has only $30.
Check out Umba and their offerings for you here.
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