Banks adopt technology in efforts to cut costs


Pedestrians walk past an Equity Bank branch. FILE

Commercial banks are turning to technology to cut operating costs and boost growth.

Equity Bank last week completed an upgrade, joining a growing number of local banks that have had to overhaul their systems to improve efficiency as they fight for more customers to boost returns.

The upgrade, carried out in partnership with Infosys Technology, IBM, Oracle and Open Way Group, will enable the bank to roll out more technology-driven innovative products.

Diamond Trust bank announced an upgrade of its banking system 2013 while KCB has already rolled out its electronic queue management system (eQMS) hoping to address the long queues in the banking halls.

Barclays Bank, on the other hand, has revamped its online systems to enhance the integration and convergence of its mobile payment systems. ICT services will allow the bank to process transactions more efficiently and provide customers with better access to services through mobile devices.

Equity Bank Group chief executive James Mwangi said investment in new technology was a necessary expense for the bank to register sustained growth in new market segments.

“This system is expected to provide a platform on which a comprehensive range of innovative products and services can be anchored. The new banking system is also expected to help the bank save on infrastructure and maintenance costs, and improve customer relationships,” a statement from the bank said.

The new core banking system, known as Finacle 10, has a capacity of handling 35 million accounts, up from the present 8 million accounts.

It will allow the bank’s 8.7 million customers to transact seamlessly across five countries ­ Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania and South Sudan.

This story was first published in the Sunday Nation.