The Housing Finance (HF) Group has launched the HF WhatsApp banking solution to offer customized mobile banking services to its customers, becoming the first bank in the region to commercially go live with this product.
HF has partnered with Infobip, Wayawaya, Kocela and Myriad to implement and market this revolutionary product to its existing and new customers.
Speaking during the launch of HF Whizz WhatsApp Banking, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Robert Kibaara said the app would allow customers to interact with the bank through WhatsApp for functions such as accessing account services, do loan applications, bill payments, airtime purchase, funds transfers, and goods purchases among other services.
“Since WhatsApp is a highly popular messaging platform with millions of active users in Kenya, it unlocks an opportunity for us to offer our customers a more personal, intuitive and efficient way to engage with them on chat,” said Kibaara.
He noted that this capability they are pioneering enables HF’s customers to manage their banking needs within their WhatsApp chat with the same efficiency as services obtained at their branches and other digital banking platforms.
He further said that customers could simply add HF’s WhatsApp phone number +254719597315 to begin a secure Chat Banking session.
“To subscribe to this service, customers are required to save the bank’s WhatsApp phone number – meaning access to the chat is granted on an individual and personalized basis,” explained the CEO.
Kibaara said that HF is combining this powerful and interactive platform with Artificial Intelligence (AI), to enable businesses to scale their offerings to keep abreast with customer changing preferences.
He added that AI uses voice capabilities which makes it possible for machines to give instructions with human like language therefore customers will experience HF’s products before they buy them.
“Customers’ expectations are constantly changing and it’s our duty as a customer-centric bank to ensure that our customers are provided with the means to initiate or carry out banking services through any channel they desire wherever they are conveniently,” added Kibaara.
The CEO further said that this new channel is part of HF’s digital banking strategy and cements its commitment to providing solutions to social and economic challenges through innovation geared at resolving critical issues around ease of access, convenience, safety and simplicity of essential financial services.
The Waya Waya Founder and CEO, Teddy Ogallo said that through this partnership, they hoped to change the lives of clients in terms of how they consumed banking services.
“We are the first in Kenya and East Africa and I am grateful that you gave a chance to a startup called Waya Waya to steer this journey of transforming banking. The future of banking and payments belongs to companies who embrace innovations. We can’t deliver payments through traditional means thus we have to evaluate how we will deliver these services through Facebook,” said Ogallo.
Ogallo lauded HF Group as a company that innovates and develops customers with ease of banking in mind. He added that the team at Waya Waya has been opened to other borders that have not been opened before by any other bank in Africa.
By Charity Kanyoro/Pauline Okeng’a