By Celestine Okorie, Correspondent South Africa
The banking software company, Temenos, has announced that Barko Financial Services (BFS), a leading microfinance institution in South Africa, has gone live on Temenos Software-as-a-Service to make it faster and easier for South Africans to access finance remotely during COVID-19. The Temenos solution combines Temenos Infinity digital banking platform and Temenos Transact next-generation core banking. BFS can now originate loans for customers via mobile, without them ever having to visit the branch, in just 4½ minutes.
Pre-pandemic, BFS issued around 1.5 million loans a year through its network of more than 190 branches to support everyday South Africans coping with financial hardship, often those on low incomes. With lockdown restrictions due to COVID-19, BFS needed a new way to help its customers access the finance they need.
Using Temenos Infinity, BFS was able to reimagine the customer experience, designing and building a new lending service within 12 weeks, completing all customer trials and tests, and launching a final product just three months later. BFS processes more than 125,000 loans per month and with Temenos, its customers can now apply securely via their mobile and receive loan funding almost instantly.
With its digital banking platform delivered by Temenos as a service, BFS can focus on its core business and devote capital and resources to better banking solutions. BFS is in process applying for a banking license and has ambitions to go beyond microfinance with a range of banking services aimed at the underserved and unbanked. With out-of-the-box banking solutions, Temenos SaaS provides the perfect launch pad for BFS to challenge the incumbent banks with new retail banking services that are fast, efficient, and competitive.
Chief Executive Officer, Barko Financial Services, Kobus de Wet said: “While the pandemic has increased our service demand, it has impacted our physical operations and customer access to our branches. With Temenos Infinity, we can offer a personalized and digital lending service that gives our customers instant access to the funds they need when they need them without visiting a branch. Our ambition is to provide more banking products. With Temenos SaaS, we will be able to launch new capabilities faster and provide innovative products which are simple to use and tailored to add value to our target customers.”
President – APAC and MEA, Temenos, Jean-Paul Mergeai commented: “Temenos is proud to partner with Barko Financial Services to make banking better for everyday South Africans. Our SaaS and cloud-native technology enable BFS to increase dramatically the speed, efficiency, and agility of its banking operations. This end-to-end platform modernization with Temenos will help BFS elevate customers’ experience and grow its business sustainably. Temenos is the world number one banking software company. With a strong presence in South Africa, we have been able to ensure a smooth implementation as well as provide valued expertise to support BFS in their journey to expand their banking proposition.”