[South Africa] Barko Financial Services chooses Temenos cloud software to deliver personalized digital customer experiences

Temenos, the banking software company, has announced that Barko Financial Services has selected Temenos software to replace its legacy systems, in both core and front office, to offer a compelling and personalized customer experience.

The microfinance institution will use cloud-native, cloud-agnostic Temenos T24 Transact, the next generation in core banking, and Temenos Infinity, the breakthrough digital banking product.

Barko Financial Services is in the process of applying for a banking license with the ambition to launch a retail bank that will challenge the status quo in South Africa by offering financial products aimed at better meeting the needs of lower-income South African consumers – Temenos will provide the technology to enable this strategy.

The microfinance institution has over 170 branches and caters for millions of modest-earning, but salaried South Africans such as government employees, mineworkers and civil servants.

Currently, it takes Barko Financial Services 25 minutes to onboard a client and 10 to 15 for a new loan application. With Temenos’ packaged, integrated software, Barko Financial Services will dramatically reduce the time to originate loans, targeting re-loan applications to be completed in under two minutes and new loan completion in under seven minutes.

The aim is to give customers, who are mostly located in rural areas, a compelling digital experience using mobile devices, thereby eliminating the need to visit a branch.

By selecting Temenos’ end-to-end digital banking platform, Barko Financial Services will benefit from accelerated project timelines and drastically reduced cost of deployment. The microfinance institution is expected to go live in six months.

Cloud-hosted Temenos Infinity will allow Barko Financial Services to gain product agility and take new products and services to market faster. Temenos T24 Transact will enable the business to benefit from operational efficiencies at a lower cost of ownership.

Temenos has more than 25 years of global banking expertise and a local presence in Africa. Temenos consistently invests over 20% of its revenue into continually enhancing its packaged software, to develop the richest and deepest functionality in the industry.

Kobus de Wet, Chief Executive Officer, Barko Financial Services, said: “We are delighted to be working with Temenos as our strategic technology partner. Temenos has a worldwide reputation for robust, scalable banking software and an extensive presence in the African region. We selected Temenos’ packaged and open banking software to transform our customer experience, offer personalized products and services and drastically lower our total cost of ownership. With Temenos, we will be able to launch capabilities faster, if we get approval to establish a bank, and provide innovative products which are simple to use and tailored to add value to our target customers. We wish to offer lower-income customers a personalized experience that is typically reserved for private clients.”

Jean-Paul Mergeai, Managing Director – Middle East and Africa, Temenos, said: “Technology is playing a pivotal role in making financial inclusion a viable option for everyone. We are delighted to partner with Barko Financial Services, which joins the Temenos family, and it can leverage our experience of serving over 220 microfinance institutions as well as our expertise in helping new banks to launch. By selecting our cloud-native, cloud-agnostic packaged software Barko Financial Services will benefit from a fast implementation. Barko Financial Services will be best positioned to leverage technology innovation to offer an outstanding customer experience at a reduced cost. We look forward to working with Barko Financial Services as it transforms the services that it offers to its customers.”

www.temenos.com

www.barko.co.za

Kenyan banks embrace infobip solutions to grow customer base, manage competition

Infobip, a global cloud communications company for businesses and leader in omnichannel engagement is enhancing its presence in Kenya by partnering with banks and businesses.

Housing Finance Group, an integrated property and financial solutions provider in Kenya believes tailored dialogue is key in building long term relationships with their customers.

”It is imperative to listen to your customers and interact with them on digital channels. Our recently launched mobile app, for example, increased our customer base by 150 percent in only seven weeks, but USSD service is still very much in demand in Kenya. With the support of Infobip, we implemented our USSD solution in less than two months, and we can already attest to great results customer-wise,” said George Njuguna, Chief Information Officer, H.F. Group. 

Infobip has partnered with several financial and telecommunications companies across the region, bringing financial solutions to the unbanked and helping banks and fintech enterprises meet the growing competition from the expanding FAANG (Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix, and Google) communications sector.

A major shift in mobile money and financial services trends are evolving across Africa. Other companies using Infobip’s A2P communication technology in Africa include the Commercial Bank of Africa (CBA), the largest privately-owned bank in East Africa.

“We are constantly trying to find new, innovative ways to optimize our processes and interactions with our customers to increase satisfaction with our bank. CBA is utilizing Infobip’s platform for A2P SMS communication, but our goal is also to expand our cooperation with additional channels such as email, chat apps and push notifications for example,” Dennis Volemi, Head of IT at CBA.

Kenya tops the list of African countries with ease of access to financial services thanks in part to its high uptake of mobile money, placing the country ahead of economic giants such as South Africa, Nigeria, and Ghana. Other key drivers of this development include mobile adoption and internet connectivity. 84 percent of Kenya’s population has access to the Internet.  91 percent of Kenya’s total population has a mobile phone, compared to the average of 80 percent mobile penetration in all of Africa.[1]

”Infobip is expanding its operations in Africa. It is a region that is changing and improving rapidly when it comes to mobile money and financial services. Kenya, being one of the more progressive and developed nations in Africa, presents great potential and sets an example in truly diminishing the unbanked. With Infobip’s messaging solutions, banks can effectively build customer engagement, trust, and loyalty that is so important in Africa’s evolving banking industry,” said Rachel Njiru, Infobip’s MD Kenya & Director OP Africa.

By using Infobip’s omnichannel solution, Kenyan businesses can choose the optimal communication channels for specific types of messages, all available on a single communication platform.

Businesses can design targeted promotional campaigns and provide transactional traffic by including, for example, notification codes, account balance changes, bonus calculations on member cards, and payment reminders. The channels include SMS, and a number of chat app channels such as WhatsApp, Telegram and Facebook Messenger, RCS, Push and more.

“Banks have to meet the customer needs of its competition. Maintaining customers long-term will require impactful engagement through omnichannel communications over the channels they use and prefer.  Infobip is a provider that can truly address these pain points, helping banks throughout Africa improve their financial service offerings and ultimately enable every Kenyan with a bank account to be powered by mobile technology,” said Ali Hussein Kassim, co-founder, and CEO of FinteXX.

Infobip’s enablement of WhatsApp Business API allows enterprises in over 180 countries to communicate branded and rich content, such as high-res images, video, and files to its customers over WhatsApp, the chat app trusted and used by 1.6 billion people worldwide.

A financial institution can for example offer banking services such as personal account verification information, account statements, banking transaction alerts or help customers find the closest branch.

www.infobip.com

[South Africa] Microsoft to provide cloud services for Standard Bank Group’s i internal corporate functions.

Standard Bank Group has selected Microsoft to provide cloud services for its internal corporate functions. The new strategic partnership between the two companies will help transform the bank’s technology estate and internal corporate functions, enabling the largest bank in Africa to accelerate its digital transformation journey significantly improving its employee experience.

The partnership also forms part of Standard Bank’s multi-cloud approach and strengthens its long-term relationship with Microsoft.

“Standard Bank is embracing digital transformation and the opportunities it presents. They realise that investment in digital transformation is also about investing in your organisational culture, ensuring that employees can succeed in a fast-changing world,” says Jean-Philippe Courtois, EVP and President, Microsoft Global Sales, Marketing & Operations. “Together we aim to bring innovation into every aspect of the bank’s IT systems, transform every employee experience and in turn enable enriched interactions with the bank’s customers. Being part of Standard Bank’s digital journey is particularly exciting as we share the ambition of making a positive impact on the African continent.”

The new partnership agreement adds to the work the two businesses are doing together. Microsoft already provides infrastructure, software, and platform services to the bank as well as cloud services across its productivity suite. These services continue to support Standard Bank’s expansion into Africa as well as enabling a true modern workplace.

“By providing these services, Microsoft is supporting Standard Bank Group in our digital transformation, helping to better leverage data to empower employees, create operational efficiencies, optimise our processes and transform our services and products to serve our clients with consistent excellence,” says Sim Tshabalala, Group CEO of Standard Bank. “The relationship between the Group and Microsoft has helped us execute our digitisation strategy and embark on this digital journey.”

Last month, Microsoft announced the launch of its new enterprise-grade data centre regions in South Africa. Microsoft Cloud — comprising Azure, Office 365 and Dynamics 365 — offers scalable, available and resilient cloud services to help organisations, businesses and government meet their data residency, security and compliance needs. Microsoft is the first global provider to deliver cloud services from datacentres on the continent, and there are plans in place to migrate a proportion Standard Bank’s cloud services to these local data centres.

Microsoft also provides the bank with access to its cloud expertise across its array of teams and businesses allowing it to leverage the learnings from Microsoft’s own transformation journey and its strong culture of collaboration.

In its quest to support communities and businesses on the African continent, Standard Bank is also developing a comprehensive education and digital skills programme in Southern Africa to address to critical skills shortages and to upskill the next generation of African cloud experts.

www.microsoft.com

www.standardbank.com



[South Africa] Standard Bank Group selects AWS as its preferred cloud provider

Amazon Web Services, Inc, an Amazon.com company (NASDAQ: AMZN), announced that Standard Bank Group has selected AWS as its preferred cloud provider with the intention of migrating its production workloads, including its customer facing platforms and strategic core banking applications to the cloud.

Standard Bank Group will leverage AWS services, including data analytics and machine learning, to automate financial operations and enhance customer facing web and mobile applications. The migration to AWS will take place across all business units, subject to approvals from local regulators, including Personal Banking, Wealth, Corporate Investment Banking, and Insurance, driving a more personalized banking and investment experience for customers.

Standard Bank Group says it chose AWS because of its broad and deep portfolio of cloud services, overall commitment to security excellence, and strong financial services experience. The South African Reserve Bank also confirmed Standard Bank Group can make the move to AWS while still meeting all current compliance requirements. Standard Bank Group will take advantage of advanced analytics and machine learning services, including Amazon SageMaker, to advance fraud detection and launch new business initiatives, such as machine learning-based advisor capabilities that will help customers make more informed financial decisions. As part of the move, an AWS Cloud Center of Excellence will be established within the bank, featuring a dedicated team focused on facilitating the migration to the cloud and building AWS training and certification programs to up-skill all employees. AWS and Standard Bank Group will also collaborate on building an education and digital skills program, to be launched across Southern Africa, to train the next generation of African cloud experts.

“Our vision is to be Africa’s leading financial services organization and to achieve this we have chosen to work with the world’s leading cloud,” said Sim Tshabalala, Group CEO of Standard Bank. “For Standard Bank Group to remain a leader in African financial services, we recognize we need to adopt a cloud-first approach to our business. AWS Cloud technology will create a springboard for Standard Bank Group, helping us to rapidly roll out our digitization and data strategy to better cater to customers whose needs are constantly evolving. The combination of AWS’s rapid agility and high levels of security, combined with Standard Bank’s customer obsession and desire to constantly raise the bar, will allow us to build Africa’s financial services organization of the future and to be positioned as more than a bank.”

“The cloud is transforming the financial services industry as organizations look for new ways to enhance customer experiences, and power their entire enterprise operations more efficiently and effectively on the world’s leading cloud,” said Andy Jassy, CEO of AWS. “Standard Bank Group has been a trusted financial institution for more than 150 years. We look forward to working closely with them as they become Africa’s first bank in the cloud, leveraging AWS to innovate new services at a faster clip, maintain operational excellence, and provide secure banking services to customers around the world.”

www.standardbank.com