Addis Fortune (Addis Ababa)

31 August 2014

Ethiopia: Awash Bank Takes Leap Forwards With New Advanced System

The first of its kind in Ethiopia, the technology will enable the bank to provide numerous new services

Awash International Bank (AIB) will launch an advanced CORE banking system to enable it to introduce new services in September 2014.

The system, BankFusion Universal Banking (BFUB), is being brought to AIB by Misys International Financial Systems Ltd - a UK based software development company - for 200 million Br. Misys boasts on its website that the front-to-back integration achieved by its universal banking solution allowed "for the accelerated launch of financial products from design straight through to distribution - across any channel", slashing time-to-market and achieving increased profitability by decreasing the cost-to-income ratio.

"Unlocking operational data from the core, FusionBanking Essence turns data into actionable intelligence - helping you identify new business opportunities," it says.

The CORE banking currently in use by the bank, Bankmaster, is a centralised system that handles all retail banking operations, such as savings, time deposits, loans, demand deposits, subsidiary ledger and general ledger. This application was also supplied by Misys, which has branches in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Germany, Amsterdam and India, with customers in 130 countries.

Misys has sent its own people here to install the system, which it says could remain in operation for 10 years without failing. One of the strong sides of the new system is that data can be smoothly transferred from the existing setup, according to an official of the bank, without the bank having to interrupt the services it is giving to its clients.

Misys took the responsibility for any risk that might be caused by the system during installation," said the official, adding that most vendors did not take such measures.

The new system is being installed at a new three-room data centre in the basement of the Awash headquarters with one room each for, servers, network operation and power unite. The data centre is already housing servers for production, backup, test and disaster recovery, all newly supplied by Misys itself as part of the 200 million Br deal.

Once set up, Awash will be able to offer new services in internet banking, mobile banking, agent banking, portal transaction and point of sale, according to bank officials. The new system will minimise the cost of building new products and will also make processes easier, said another official close to the issue.

"It will increase the productivity and competiveness of the bank," he said.

Awash expects all tests for the new system to be completed and to begin service by the end of September 2014. The system has the capacity to give services for the coming 10 years without any trouble.

AIB was established in 1991 with 486 founding shareholders and a paid-up capital of 24.2 million birr. Licensed on November 10, 1994, it started banking operations on February 13, 1995. It now has 3000 shareholders and a paid-up capital of 1.2 billion Br. The bank and its sister company, Awash Insurance, have been headquartered in Awash Towers - a twin-towered building that cost 217 million Br - since the buildings inauguration in 2010.

Awash deployed 100 ATMs and 400 Point of Sale machines in Addis Abeba during the fourth quarter of the last fiscal year. These are on top of those it jointly uses with other private banks.

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