NCBA Bank: Investing in Technology to Offer Inclusive Financial Services

“We have a view or a mission to be Africa's most valued digital platform for financial services, which then means we are seeking to move to not just identify ourselves as a bank but actually identify ourselves as a marketplace upon which financial services are offered, upon which customers can then find innovations that impact positively their daily life. So that also was a primary motivation for the investment we made with HUAWEI and the continued collaboration with them, ” Eric Muriuki Njagi, Group Director for Digital Business, NCBA.

Access to financial services is an integral part of the global drive towards an inclusive financial system that empowers all. Global statistics report that over 1.7 billion adults worldwide still don’t have access to traditional modes of banking or a bank account. With technology becoming an integral part of day to day life, more organizations are looking to it to bridge the financial services gap. Mobile technology has stood out as a key driver with over 1.1 billion out of the 1.7 billion persons without access to a bank account owning a mobile phone.

Nairobi, the capital of Kenya, has stood out as a hub for innovation and strategic use of mobile technology. People from all walks of life can access traditional banking services such as savings and credit using their mobile phones on the M-Shwari platform. Established eight years ago by NCBA Bank and Safaricom, M-Shwari has empowered millions of customers across Kenya by enabling real-time access to financial services for its over 35 million users. The service builds on mobile penetration to enhance access to financial services across the country.

With the tremendous growth observed and increased customer needs, M-Shwari needed to further enhance its capabilities as well as position itself for growth.

Digital Transformation Is a Key Enabler

Digital transformation has increasingly became a key enabler. However, there were still a few challenges that needed to be addressed:

• Live network performance was increasingly unable to support the bank's rapid business development or cope with high traffic stemming from customers' mobile financial interactions, due to the fast growth of mobile savings and loan services.

• There was increased need for fast technical support for new services and features.

• User experience was greatly impacted due to slow response from the system.

The challenge to design and build a next generation core banking system was given to Huawei and its partner MuRong Technology ( Download the Huawei Inclusive Finance Journal to get the latest trends and insights: