We will “leapfrog the competition” through apps highway: Nedbank

Despite its late arrival to the application market, Nedbank says it aims to leapfrog its competitors in “certain instances” by creating an application highway.

Nedbank announced the launch of its digital banking app in-house in June (although it started in March), giving staff beta access to the App Suite ahead of the planned public release.

On Monday (23 July), Nedbank shared its app journey with a  select audience, although it stopped short of officially announcing the App Suite open to the public. It was originally scheduled for launch in May.

Fred Swanepoel, CIO at Nedbank Group, said that, since its launch to staff in March, the group had logged six million sessions without a single phishing attack. He added that CEO Mike Brown would speak more about the app when the group announces its financial results, early next month.

First National Bank (FNB) was first to market with an app in South Africa when it launched about a year ago (20 July 2011), and claims that the application has over 200,000 transacting users who have made over two million transactions.

Swanepoel said that the bank has put “huge focus” on repositioning itself, with the primary focus to ensure the provision of a platform that gives the bank a competitive edge. “We believe we will leapfrog the competition in certain instances,” he said.

The CIO noted that the application was two years in the making, with the group heading abroad to look at various solutions, while also looking closer to home, in Nigeria and Kenya.

Nedbank says its App Suite will be available on smartphones as well as a wide range of feature phones, and tablets. It added that it is in the final stages of getting Apple certification.

The group has already released a number of apps for staff, including a share trading solution. On Thursday, the group will also unveil its corporate batch releasing and financial management apps, with an e-billing platform also in the pipeline, among others.

Brown said that his presence at the event sent out a powerful signal as to the importance of this suite to the executive team.

He said that Nedbank’s physical footprint in the three major metropolitan areas in South Africa accounted for approximately 20% of market share, but less so in less populous regions. He said that, through its digital platform, the bank aims to try to bridge the gap with its competitors.

Brown said that, in launching the application security was paramount, while how the app is integrated into the back-end of the bank and creating a seamless experience for customers is vital.

The chief executive said that the third part of the equation included the provision of a “highway” on which to launch future products. He said the aim of the bank was to build an infrastructure that enables seamless integration for future products, and to be able to continually roll out new apps.

“Its just the start, we have some financial products up our sleeve including an exciting e-billing platform,” Brown said.

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We will “leapfrog the competition” through apps highway: Nedbank