NCBA Bank: Investing in Technology to Deliver Inclusive Financial Services


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“Our goal or mission is to be Africa’s most valued digital platform for financial services, which means we seek to identify ourselves not only as a bank, but also as a market in which financial services are offered, on which customers can then find innovations that have a positive impact on their daily lives. It was therefore also the main motivation for the investment we made with HUAWEI (e.Huawei.com) and the continued collaboration with them. – Eric Muriuki Njagi, Group Director for Digital Affairs, NCBA.

Mobile technology has emerged as a key driver with more than 1.1 billion of the 1.7 billion people without access to a bank account and owning a mobile phone.

Access to financial services is integral to the global drive towards an inclusive financial system that empowers all. Global statistics show that more than 1.7 billion adults worldwide still do not have access to traditional banking modes or a bank account. As technology becomes an integral part of everyday life, more and more organizations are turning to it to bridge the financial services gap. Mobile technology has emerged as a key driver with more than 1.1 billion of the 1.7 billion people without access to a bank account and owning a mobile phone.

Nairobi, the capital of Kenya, has established itself as a hub for innovation and the 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. Founded 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 more than 35 million users. The service leverages mobile penetration to improve access to financial services across the country.

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

Digital transformation is a key enabler

Digital transformation has increasingly become a key enabler. However, there were still a few challenges to overcome:

  • The performance of the live network was increasingly unable to support the rapid business development of the bank or to cope with the high traffic resulting from the mobile financial interactions of customers, due to the rapid growth of savings and credit services. mobile.
  • There was an increased need for rapid technical support for new services and features.
  • User experience was greatly affected due to the slow response of the system.

The challenge of designing and building a next-generation central banking system has been entrusted to Huawei and its partner MuRong Technology.

A new generation central banking system

NCBA Bank has embarked on an ambitious project with Huawei through its partner, MuRong Technology, that would allow it to create a next-generation core banking system designed to meet its unique business needs.

Huawei has served more than 2,000 financial clients in more than 60 countries and regions, including 47 of the world’s 100 largest banks. It strategically cooperates with 20 major banks, insurers and securities firms around the world, and has become a trusted strategic partner for financial institutions in digital transformation. Huawei has adopted an open collaborative approach to finance, developing more than 1,200 solution partners, 4,200 service partners and more than 20,000 business partners worldwide.

MuRong Technology, one of Huawei’s solution partners, is a leading provider of new digital banking systems and information technology (IT) solutions for scenario-specific finance. MuRong can offer professional business experience, advanced technical advantages and excellent cross-border service delivery capabilities.

Amid the pandemic, Huawei and MuRong Technology focused on the needs of NCBA Bank by performing a comprehensive analysis of the bank’s services and designing a rigorous scanning solution.

After extensive one-year testing, MuRong delivered a next-generation digital banking system in November 2020. The solution included service migration of 80 million small deposit and loan accounts as well as consumer loan accounts, which allowed the new system to provide better services. with increased capacity and performance. It is Kenya’s first central banking system that uses a distributed architecture, which is expected to support the bank’s business development over the next decade.

Built on a Distributed Development and Operations (DevOps) framework, the Next Generation Digital Banking System provides agile and robust technical support for NCBA Bank’s digital financial services. On the first day of operations, the system migrated data from 60 million accounts at once, reaching 420 transactions per second (TPS) at peak system performance.

The private cloud platform and underlying distributed financial services system ensure stable systems running. Huawei’s private cloud platform facilitates centralized resource management and flexible provisioning; while the Gauss database (GaussDB) supports night reports and complex queries, reducing the expense of traditional databases. High-reliability, high-performance OceanStor Dorado all-flash storage helps customers deploy services quickly. At the same time, the distributed financial services system can scale horizontally, handle highly concurrent requests, and eliminate any single point of failure (SPOF). Ultimately, this makes the system less complex, reduces the cost of middleware overhead, while supporting future online banking system migration and rapid innovation in financial services.

The new basic system

  • Higher Transaction Capacity: System performance increases from 60 TPS to 420 TPS, supporting the rapid growth of the bank’s business.
  • Lower Total Cost of Ownership (TCO): Expensive databases and fewer Enterprise Service Bus (ESB) requirements. The number of databases has increased from 108 to 56 with the introduction of new architectures and technologies. More flexible Application Programming Interface (API) gateways are used to replace ESBs, improving system flexibility and reducing the total cost of ownership of the system by more than 50% over five years.
  • Improved System Flexibility and Reliability: Multicluster design increases system reliability to 99.99%. The new architecture at the software layer level allows for horizontal expansion of the system and can support rapid deployment of services in the future.

Digital transformation, reshaping the future of NCBA banking

The new M-Shwari core banking system opens up a world of possibilities for NCBA, enabling the bank to deliver on its promise to its customers. At the heart of NCBA Bank is a drive to give clients the right financial solutions to enable them to do more.

The cooperation between NCBA Bank and Huawei laid the foundation for the bank’s long-term sustainable development. Indeed, NCBA Bank has reshaped its position as an innovator in the financial services industry by creating a next-generation digital banking system.

In the years to come, financial technology (FinTech) will continue to grow, banking 4.0 will become a reality and new banking services will emerge. NCBA Bank tackles current bottlenecks while accelerating digital transformation to become a leader in African financial services and embrace Bank 4.0.

Thanks for reading. For more information on Huawei’s financial ICT solution and how we are helping banks around the world be successful, please click here: https://bit.ly/3qeGgdH.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Huawei Enterprise.

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