State Bank Switches its Switch

 The US-based ACI Worldwide, supplied the new switch system to CBE

The state giant, Commercial Bank of Ethiopia (CBE), is to launch a new electronic funds transfer system after completing  a pilot project it runs close to a year.

The three-quarter century bank has been using “Switch Magic,” provided by M2M Group, a Morocco-based electronic transactions processing software company through its local agent, Moti Engineering Plc. The system has been able to integrate the Bank’s Automated Teller Machines (ATM) and point of sales (PoS) terminals.

The bid to upgrade the system was floated back in May of 2016. The Bank had invited six international firms to compete, with three showing interest including Swiss-based BPC Group Banking Technologies, represented by its local agent SS Communications Plc; Tieto Oyj,  a Finnish company, which partnered with Moti Engineering Plc; and the US-based ACI Worldwide.

ACI was the only company that passed the technical evaluations stage. The fact that the company did not have a local agent drew complaints from the other two companies.

The new system that ACI introduced is called BASE24-eps, which handles more traffic than the Base 24 the firm had developed for Dashen Bank back in 2005. ACI is based in Florida and has over 4,000 employees. Last year, it reported revenue of over a billion dollars.

The new system employed by CBE is similar to the one employed by multinational financial firms including Barclays and City-Bank, headquartered in London and New York, respectively.

Moti has supplied 80pc of ATM terminal used by banks, while SSC communications supplied almost all of the bank’s PoS terminals.

Back in 2009 when M2M delivered Switch-Magic, it was integrated into 50 ATMs, 250 PoS and 50,000 cards.

The new BASE24-eps will be integrated into 1,700 ATMs, close to 7,400 PoS terminals and almost four million cardholders, according to Belhu Takele, Corporate Communications director at the CBE.

“We are moving data from the old system to the new one. Once this is finished, it will be fully operational and more features will be available,” Belhu told Fortune.

The system, which cost the bank 4.5 to five million dollars, is expected to ease transaction as well as encourage its use to CBE’s customers. The bank has over a trillion Br in assets, around 16 million depositors, over 1,200 branches and 43 billion Br in capital. It recently celebrated its 75 years anniversary since establishment.

This new system is designed to efficiently integrate 3,000 ATMs, 30,000 PoS machines and 10 million cardholders.

The number of cardholders in Ethiopia stands far lower than that of neighbouring Kenya, which has 15.4 million cardholders and 35,500 PoS and 2,900 ATM terminals.


Published on Jul 14,2018 [ Vol 19 ,No 950]



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