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ITWeb TV: TymeBank prepares to become full-service bank

Sibahle Malinga
By Sibahle Malinga, ITWeb senior news journalist.
Johannesburg, 01 Mar 2024
ITWeb Journalist Sibahle Malinga speaks to Cheslyn Jacobs, Chief Commercial Officer at TymeBank about new offerings in the pipeline, including commercial products and accelerating the bank’s virtual card services. #Tymebank #digitalbank #financial

Digital-only bank TymeBank is looking to expand its product offerings and services for consumers and commercial clients, as it transforms into a “full-service” bank.

The branchless bank says it has been consistently acquiring 150 000 customers each month, breaching the nine million customer mark.

The bank’s mother company, Tyme Group, concluded its new funding round in December – with part of the funds to be injected into its new growth strategy.

The funding came after two new international investment firms – Norssken22 and Blue Earth Capital − joined existing shareholders to invest a total of $77 million in the digital-only player.

The bank is preparing to expand its offerings, with a strong focus on its commercial clients.
The bank is preparing to expand its offerings, with a strong focus on its commercial clients.

In an interview with ITWeb TV, Cheslyn Jacobs, chief commercial officer of TymeBank, explained that after achieving its first month of profitable operations in a significantly short timeframe, the bank is now preparing to expand its offerings, with a strong focus on its commercial clients.

TymeBank became the first digital bank to make a profit in South Africa and on the continent, after reaching its first month of profitability in December 2023.

It is now preparing to adopt some valuable lessons from sister company, the Philippines-based GoTyme bank, which has been on-boarding 250 000 customers per month since it launched in October 2022.

“We want to import some of the learnings in the Philippines bank and bring them to South Africa; for instance, they do some clever things around rewards offerings and savings products.

“We also still have lots of things we want to do with our existing partners. We acquired Retail Capital a year ago and we want to focus more on our commercial customers and scale our lending products.

“Other things on the horizon are working more on our virtual card and introducing other services, like allowing customers to tap their phone or tap their watch when making payments at stores,” noted Jacobs.

While TymeBank has an existing virtual card offering, it will now look at rolling out phase two of the service, and expand its existing partnerships to provide a variety of insurance-based products, he said.

“We believe there is still massive opportunity that lies in our medical insurance products. Our products allow consumers to access private health services at low fees and we have a lot more opportunities we would like to explore.

“We believe there is great opportunity for our consumers to mitigate some risks from an insurance perspective. We want to become a full-service bank and offer a wider range of products to customers so that they can feel they can do everything they need to do with us.”

GoTyme launched in partnership with the Gokongwei Group, and currently has a total customer base of two million customers, less than 14 months since launch. The bank has set a target to double its customer base this year.

According to the company, across its two markets, it has a total of over 11 million customers globally.

In its previous financial results, African Rainbow Capital, which holds an effective 57.7% stake in TymeBank, said Tyme Group had an annual revenue run rate of over R1.8 billion for TymeBank and R100 million for GoTyme.

Cheslyn Jacobs, chief commercial officer of TymeBank.
Cheslyn Jacobs, chief commercial officer of TymeBank.

Jacobs attributes TymeBank’s success to several key factors, including its model of combining digital channels with in-store kiosks at major retailers; the long-standing, strategic relationships with several retailers; and the continued confidence of the bank’s shareholders, as evidenced by the Tyme Group’s successful capital raise last year.

The bank has over 1 000 retail-based kiosks across the country, which have contributed 75% of all its new business growth, he added.

Asked about a marketplace banking strategy, he noted the bank is headed in the direction to add a variety of other offerings, which focus beyond banking.

“When you look at some of the services we are offering, it's important for us to premise a lot of what we do on partnerships, because we believe our consumers’ demand for convenience will increase. Partnerships are critical to our success by allowing us to grow in scale and provide us with access to customers and new markets.

“In this information age, consumers are becoming more value-sensitive and as the world is changing, consumer demands are changing, so it's important for us to listen to what consumers want and give them real value,” he concluded.