TymeBank already eyeing next million customers

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TymeBank CEO Tauriq Keraan.
TymeBank CEO Tauriq Keraan.

Shortly after onboarding its first one million customers, TymeBank is already eyeing its next million.

This is the word from CEO Tauriq Keraan, telling ITWeb he wouldn’t need another nine months to get to the next target of another million customers, as the goal will be achieved mainly as the result of some partnerships the bank is developing.

TymeBank is majority owned by African Rainbow Capital, the empowerment investment holding company owned by business mogul Dr Patrice Motsepe. It made its debut via a soft launch in November last year, becoming publicly available in February this year.

To bring is service offering to market, the bank has formed a long-term strategic partnership with retail giant Pick n Pay, allowing its customers to bank at Pick n Pay and Boxer stores around the country.

Customers can open a fully FICA-compliant bank account and receive their personalised Visa debit card at a TymeBank kiosk in less than five minutes, or they can open an account with limited functionality on the TymeBank Web site.

Keraan noted the bank already has over 780 kiosks in the market.“We are, in the very near future, going to be unleashing mobile kiosks into the market.

“Through a couple of other partnership opportunities, we will continue to grow. The Pick n Pay and Boxer footprint, regardless, grows organically each year and we just slipstream that growth trajectory.

“The more I speak about this, the more excited I get about the prospects. We've gotten a million customers…and we got there in nine months. There is such opportunity for stepwise growth, if you unlock these other partnerships that we're speaking about.”

Customer appeal

At yesterday’s event announcing TymeBank’s client milestone, Keraan revealed 85% of the bank’s customers have been onboarded via the kiosks, adding the most productive stores have been in the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal.

He noted this was a little odd because the assumption was that Gauteng stores would be the most productive. “Some of this can be attributed to execution on the ground but a lot of it is how the proposition has resonated with customers in those provinces.”

This year has seen some shake-ups in SA’s retail banking industry, with digital banks such as TymeBank and Discovery Bank vying for new customers.

Commenting on why TymeBank has resonated with so many customers in such a short space of time, Keraan listed the way the offering is positioned and customer engagement as some of the reasons for TymeBank’s massive appeal in the market.

“Not only the pricing, the value we give back in savings and rewards, but also how accessible it is for customers to use the proposition.

“I think another reason is how we try to engage with customers, listening to customers’ needs and what they'd like us to do. For example, new things they'd like us to add, things that we are falling short of in certain instances and need to improve on.

“It's actually just legitimately the projection of the founding team’s vision, which is to bring financial services to ordinary South Africans. It's actually translated in us being warmly received by customers and I think the public at large.”

Coen Jonker, co-founder and CEO of Tyme, added that typical digital banks are very focused on digital as a way to capture digital native customers.

Jonker explained that TymeBank believes customers are tired of the branch and the chequebook. As a result, it wants customers who want to do everything on their phones, with the emphasis being on attracting and wowing digital native customers.

“We think about digital or about technology somewhat differently, which is that it's a way to simplify life and enhance the experience of anyone, even somebody who's not a digital native.”

Cloud fever

According to Keraan, TymeBank being hosted on the Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud offering brings massive benefit.

At the AWS Cape Town Summit in July, TymeBank CIO Dieter Botha revealed more than 85% of the entire bank – including its core systems – runs in the cloud.

Keraan pointed out that being in the cloud means that automatically, there is a bunch of things the bank doesn’t have to worry about on a day-to-day basis, although it still manages the risk.

“There are also native capabilities in AWS that make it very convenient for us to use. For example, cloud conformity is a service that sits in AWS that actually monitors and listens for any cyber penetration or any suspicious cyber attempts on our environment.

“We are actually driving costs down on the cloud, because as we look to leverage more of the deeper native capabilities in AWS, we release other resources for the business,” he concluded.

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