The Independent (Kampala)

8 November 2013

Uganda: Fraud Buster

On Oct. 30 Crane Bank Uganda and Temenos, the world's largest banking software company based in Switzerland, announced a partnership to implement their T24/R13 universal banking software both in Uganda and Rwanda, where the bank will soon open shop.

The software, which is currently being used by most banks world over, basically helps the headquarters of a bank to among other things to watch or detect transactions happening in real time and to store bulky data for the bank. For Crane Bank, this software comes at the right time when they are expanding their branch network within and across the region.

Expansion of operations comes along with risks like fraud, money laundering and other risks, hence the need for a fool-proof system to help detect and forestall suspicious transactions that could lead to the loss of their customers' cash.

At the signing of the contract documents, Temenos Sales Director Marc Philippo said T24 is a complete front to back office product or platform that powers the bank's retail, corporate, wholesale, universal and private banking operations.

Consistently ranked as the first or second best-selling core banking software platform worldwide for the last 14 years, Temenos T24 is developed using a complete service-oriented architecture (SOA) that is modular so you can deploy and integrate the functionality you need in perfect harmony with the needs of your business.

Philippo said the software helps in reducing operational costs, enhances productivity, efficiency, mitigating risk, improving customer service, driving growth and boosting productivity. The system is designed in a way that it is able to handle high volumes based on multiple, secure, and scalable servers. It does not limit the number of transactions, users or customers and is able to support any size of financial institution and all levels of traffic.

The software is proven in over 1, 500 customer deployments in more than 140 countries across the world.

In Uganda, only three banks - Tropical, NC and KCB - are connected to the system.

Those that have deployed it say it is a robust system. "It is flexible and gives you information about transactions in real time and can easily be upgraded or redesigned," said Hashem Alhelmi, the senior ICT manager and Jude Tebusweeke assistant ICT manager at Tropical bank. They described the system as smart, easy to use, powerful and manageable.

Using the system, the bank has been able, on a daily basis to detect erroneous and suspicious transactions. Where necessary they report to relevant authorities like Bank of Uganda. The other good thing with the system is that it can be integrated or connected to other systems like e-tax for Uganda Revenue Authority, e-water for NWSC, systems for paying school fees and other utility bills and all transactions done here can easily be observed at the back office.

A. R Kalan, the Crane Bank managing director, said the decision to select Temenos T24 came after the bank had undertaken an exhaustive evaluation of the leading core banking systems in the market and chose Temenos for its global leadership, experience and installed base in Africa and unrivalled functionality.

"Temenos will provide us with a solid platform to manage this growth efficiently, with the best risk management tools and business intelligence," Kalan said. He added the platform will help the bank to quickly and cost-effectively deliver new products and services "as we grow and serve our customers both in Uganda and regionally". He said Temenos will go live very quickly at their newly opened Rwanda branch by early 2014.

He said the new software is in addition to the to a 24 hour call centre, which is in place to assist consumers with any queries regarding the products and services offered by the bank.

Bank of Uganda, the regulator of the industry in Uganda, says a sound banking system requires strong information systems in place to manage transactions and avoid risks. Adam Mugume, BoU's executive director for research, said banks must adhere to strong IT systems to ensure they efficiently manage suspicious transactions, which might throw them into loses.

You know what happened to Swiss banks, Mugume said, it is good that banks like Crane Bank and others have systems in place to manage risks and we urge them always on this as a regulator.

"It is good they are doing this when the anti-money laundering bill is yet to be approved by the president," he said, adding that the law will take this into consideration. "Of course we compel them (banks) to report any suspicious transactions all the time and those that don't expose themselves to penalties.

Crane Bank Chairman Sudhir Ruparelia said they will strive to introduce, as usual, innovative products and solutions to widen their service delivery and meet customer expectations.

"Technology is changing everyday and that means as a bank we have to work towards that direction," he said.

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