United Bank Limited (UBL) achieved impressive results in 2019 as a result of the digital strategy it implemented approximately 18 months ago.
To begin, it was Pakistan’s fastest growing digital bank. In January, the number of digital customers surpassed one million, up from about 300,000 a year earlier. Its digital portfolio tripled in size as a result of UBL providing a digital end-to-end onboarding platform that enables customers to use the bank’s app.
These contributions have been amply rewarded. Around 53% of new customers at UBL are now acquired online, up from 5% in 2018. Around 15% of bank transactions occur online.
Sharjeel Shahid, UBL’s head of digital banking, states that the company’s attempts to digitize its operations have had a significant effect on costs. Around 15% of banking traffic has shifted away from branches and into digital platforms, lowering UBL’s cost-to-income ratio per customer.
The bank is widely regarded as one of the most progressive in the world. This is for a good cause. UBL has established a dedicated digital design lab to assist its digital transformation and customer service teams in gaining a better understanding of customer needs and behavior. UBL collaborated with IBM and other financial technology and user interface firms to implement best practices.
This transition would be difficult in Pakistan, where less than 15% of adults have a formal bank account. However, UBL, led by CEO Sima Kamil, uses television and radio to promote its digital banking offerings and raise awareness about how easy banking can be through online platforms.