Somalia-based Islamic lender Amana Bank has selected Path Solutions and its iMAL core banking system.
iMAL will deploy on an outsourced basis and replace the bank’s legacy IT platform. Path Solutions says it went through a “competitive bidding” featuring “all international suppliers” to win the deal.
Amana Bank is on a new digital transformation journey, according to Amana Bank chairman Abdirizak Hussain Malin.
“We required a partner with open and agile technology that will drive powerful change,” he says.
“We have chosen Path Solutions for its ability to deliver vital digital financial solutions at this critical time.”
Malin adds that Path Solutions distinguished itself with a “unique ability to combine core Islamic values with modern digital banking solutions.”
Alongside the iMAL system, Path Solutions is supplying Amana Bank with a selection of digital modules.
“Today, every financial institution has an incredible opportunity to apply advances in cloud computing to redefine every aspect of its business,” says Mohammed Kateeb, Path Solutions CEO.
“Somalia’s Amana Bank is a good example of this transformation to drive innovation forward and ensure much more secure banking experience.
“The bank will also benefit from the full Islamic coverage which bridges the gap between modern customer requirements and intrinsic Islamic values.”
Mobile money in Somalia
Amana Bank is the third Somalian financial institution to opt for Path Solutions. Premier Bank and MyBank both deployed the iMAL core banking system.
Challenger MyBank picked up iMAL in March, and the vendor said at the time it would be focusing on the Somali market to help tackle financial exclusion.
According to World Bank data, 58% of Somalian households make four transactions a month using mobile money.
Somalian mobile network operators don’t charge transaction fees or withdrawal fees. Despite this, up to 63% of households do not withdraw their mobile money as cash.
This could be due a high rate of counterfeit money in circulation. The International Monetary Fund (IMF)’s Somalian country head Samba Thiam has said as much as 98% of the country’s cash could be fake.
Westpac rolls out customer complaint resolution system
Australian bank Westpac has enlisted IBM to help build a complaint resolution platform that is now being rolled out to more than 15,000 customer-facing employees.
In a pilot phase since July, Resolve will now be accessible to 15,000 staffers via an “intuitive” system making it simpler for branch and contact centre staff to log and resolve complaints, says Westpac.
From next year, customers will have direct access via online banking, enabling them to log and track their complaint as it progresses to resolution. Over time, the bank says AI will help navigate bankers or customers through “guided resolutions”.
Lisa Pogonoski, GM, customer solutions, Westpac, says: “This is a huge opportunity to significantly improve customers’ experiences, get all of our people onto the same system, have one single view of complaints and one source of data.”
Post Office to close 600 ATMs
The UK’s Post Office is set to shut 600 of its 2000 ATMs over the next 18 months as it takes ownership of a network of machines currently operated by Bank of Ireland.
In response, the Post Office has joined the Link network and promised to invest £16 million over four years to maintain the network of free to use machines.
However, it will only operate 1400 commercially viable ATMs once the transfer is complete in March 2022. It will also keep almost 60 low transacting ATMs at locations where the next free to access ATM is a significant distance away.
By mid-2023, all 1400 ATMs will be replaced with new devices, with Cennox contracted for its software solution and managed services. Post Office will also use Vocalink to provide the transaction processing services for Link, Visa, MasterCard and Post Office Card Account transactions.
At sites where there is no longer an ATM, the Post Office says people can get cash over the counter.
Martin Kearsley, banking director, Post Office, says: “In the areas where we have been unable to sustainably operate the existing ATMs, customers can still withdraw cash over the counter free of charge and in a secure manner. Many of our branches are open long hours and at weekends, ensuring continued access to cash.”
The UK’s 2019 Access to Cash Review found that 17% of the UK population rely on cash, with vulnerable communities, including the poor and those in rural areas, at particular risk from reduced access to cash. The Covid-19 pandemic has further heightened the problem, with many high street businesses spurning cash payments in favour of contactless transactions.
Ant Group sets IPO pricing
Chinese fintech giant Ant Group has set the price for its upcoming initial public offering, which is expected to raise a record $34 billion.
Meanwhile, the price for the Hong Kong part of the listing is expected to revealed later in the week ahead of the listing early next month.
“This was the first time such a big listing, the largest in human history, was priced outside New York City,” Ma said at the Bund Summit. “We wouldn’t have dared to think about it five years, or even three years ago.”
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