Recognizing the pressing need for enhancing the flow of development finance, in the African mainland, Fleming Gulf Conferences has organized the 4th Annual Retail Banking Conference from 10 – 12 July 2012 in Johannesburg, South Africa. This conference mainly aims at discussing the most relevant and current topics like Out of the box thinking in beating the competition in Africa, influence of Islamic Retail Banking in changing customer experience, making new customers, retaining old customers from a revised and improved retail strategy, understanding how new product development and marketing strategies influence growth in the existing retail banking business, best practices in electronic payments to serving the poorest of the poor and enhancing the region’s microfinance and SME businesses, improving your operating and business models by reducing cost, benefits from process outsourcing, and understanding the significant social purpose of retail banks in the region.
In South Africa specifically Retail banking sees immense potential because of economic prosperity and the consequent increase in purchasing power, changing consumer demographics, increasing literacy levels, higher adaptability to technology, and growing consumerism.
According to the statistics 70% of Africa's population is unbanked which means they don't have bank accounts and don't have proper access to Finance. This conference is also going to help banking and finance related organizations to help devise new strategies in budgeting, borrowing, savings and planning. Like every other emerging market, Africa has its own set of challenges particularly in the security front along with innovative products, service quality and customer loyalty. Though customer loyalty is a global challenge, it tends to be more of a under developed experience in Africa as banks are either not that innovative with their services or there aren’t too many partners to tag into giving rewards to financial users. Africa’s main challenges in retail banking lie within loyalty programs, and exploring opportunities to serve clients better across all segments including micro financing, SMEs and serving the Ethical & Muslim population of the region.
Product design is another challenge that needs to be overcome and there are very few number of firms involving customer representatives and making good use of consumer research to design simpler and better understood products. This is another area that would be in focus at the conference. But finally what really matters here is not the existence of high quality tools themselves but their effective distribution to those most in need of them.