Africa’s leading Pan-African banking group has once again been recognised for its digital banking offering, having secured two categories at the recent Global Finance Digital Innovator Awards.
Now into its ninth year of running, these awards identify entities that regularly develop new paths and design new tools in finance. The 2021 awards added an additional dimension by seeking out financial services businesses who were able to identify digital solutions in response to the COVID-19 crisis.
Absa was recognised as the Outstanding Financial Innovator in the banking category for the Africa region while the Absa Access product was the winner for the Outstanding Innovation in Cash Management category.
“2020 was a transformative year for the financial services sector as a whole and organization who failed to deliver digital solutions were very quickly on the back foot,” says Thabo Makoko, Managing Director, Transactional Banking African Regional Operations - Absa Group, adding: “These awards are a testament to our ongoing investment in technology and digital skills.
“Finance innovations proved critical to speeding needed support to different stakeholders during the COVID crisis,” said Joseph Giarraputo, publisher and editorial director of Global Finance. “Fintech developments continue to ease corporate and retail customers’ decision making about what to do with their money as well as their ability to execute the necessary transactions. Our Innovators awards showcase the leading creative issues of the past year.”
Absa CIB’s digital investments have focused on creating a platform that offers a complete transactional banking proposition for customers and solving key components of the cash conversion cycle. The goal is simplifying payment solutions for clients and include domestic, cross border as well as micro payments to mobile wallets as well as the ability to facilitate trade transactions on the platform including fulfilling their foreign exchange requirements.
The COVID0-19 crisis put business banking clients under significant operating pressure and there was a commitment to offer liquidity solutions allowing customers to better manage their cashflow. With the electronic bill presentment and payment solution customers are able to simplify the collections and reconciliation processes through an integrated technology solution.
“The key principles that continue to govern our platform build are; intuitive design, simple integration, superior customer experience and building for the future,” says James Scott, Head of Absa Digital and Platform Services.
This value proposition has seen Absa recognised in a number of recent awards over the past 12 months including:
- Euromoney Excellence in Leadership in Africa award, 2020
- EMEA Finance Winner of EMEA Finance’s Best Cash Management Services and Best Payment Services in Africa Awards, 2020
- Global Finance Winner of Global Finance World’s Best Digital Bank Awards for Best Trade Finance Services and Best Online Portal in Africa 2020.
Absa has been seamlessly able to integrate both technology and finance solutions for its customers and this allowed the group to develop agile responses to the COVID-19 crisis. A total of 84 Trade and Working Capital transactions were approved to the value of R46bn (USD3bn) since the start of the lockdown with R33.7bn (USD2.2bn) in trade financing was approved to support businesses who were classified as “Essential Services”.
Makoko concludes: “Absa CIB continues to position itself as the leading Pan-African banking group and has made a commitment to our clients and stakeholders that we will continue to invest in innovative technology to deliver world-class solutions.”
Off the back of this success, Addendum and Absa rolled out another successful supply chain finance program, this time in the retail sector for Dis-Chem Pharmacies. Within 9 months, more than 200 Dis-Chem suppliers joined the program, making it the largest program in Africa by supplier numbers and to this day it continues to grow and evolve.
In November 2017, the Global Supply Chain Finance community celebrated this success when Dis-Chem won the Global supply chain finance program of the year in the Retail sector.
Rui Morais, CFO of Dis-Chem sums up Dis-Chem’s supply chain finance program implementation: “This is truly an unmatched enterprise financial procurement solution.”
The supply chain finance solution has been successfully extended to other Absa clients and their suppliers in South Africa. Through expertly implemented supply chain finance programs, Addendum and Absa have freed up billions in working capital for highly creditworthy customers and hundreds of their suppliers, across a variety of sectors, without accruing any new debt.
“We are very proud of our Supply Chain Finance offerings at Absa. Our teams are continually looking at ways to drive our digital strategy, which allows us to optimize our payments to suppliers and offer value adds such as maturing payment capabilities for all our clients looking to streamline their payments even further. It is always encouraging to work with a partner like Addendum who support these initiatives making the lives of our clients easier” says Harduth.
Absa and Addendum are currently in the process of extending their solution to other countries in Africa where Absa clients are looking for 100% digital and paperless working capital solutions. A combination of cutting-edge technology from Addendum, coupled with the backing of the Absa industry know-how means that all stakeholders have the opportunity to do more high-quality business and better service their clients.