It’s the qual­ity of ser­vice that counts, not the size of the bank

Finweek English Edition - - INSIDE -

Sasf in Bank has suc­cess­fully i nt r oduced tr a nsac t i ona l bank­ing to its prod­uct and ser­vice of­fer­ing. In lay­man’s terms, this sim­ply means that clients may now hold a bank ac­count with Sas­fin that al­lows them to move money in and out, and of­fers trans­ac­tional lever­age to ex­ist­ing ac­counts that its cur­rent clients may al­ready hold with the bank.

This, of course, en­ables Sasf in to pro­vide the same of­fer­ing as many of the big­ger banks in South Africa, how­ever, there are a num­ber of key dif­fer­en­ti­at­ing ad­van­tages, namely the group’s agility and its core fo­cus on per­son­alised ser­vice.

Hav­ing ac­quired its bank­ing li­cence in 1999, Sas­fin’s main fo­cus has been busi­ness bank­ing, par­tic­u­larly for­eign trade as well as small- and medium-sized en­ter­prises. Over the years it also di­ver­sif ied into prod­ucts in­clud­ing cor­po­rate f inance, trea­sury, wealth man­age­ment, em­ployee benefits, forex, lo­gis­tics and busi­ness in­sur­ance ser­vices.

The new i ni­tia­tive has been spear­headed by group fi­nan­cial direc­tor Ty­rone Soon­dar­jee, who is also a mem­ber of Sas­fin Group’s main board. “We ac­cept that many of our clients are all multi-banked, but we also be­lieve that our unique ser­vices, based on very com­pet­i­tive pric­ing, will al­low us to be­come a pri­mary banker to many of our clients.

“When you go to a client you in­vari­ably sell just one ser­vice at a time. Now, we’re able to say to them, ‘ Switch all your bank­ing ar­range­ments to us, ben­e­fit from a larger value-add, and en­joy the nim­ble­ness and agility of a smaller bank, that has the abil­ity to tai­lor to spe­cific needs.’”

This lat­est ser­vice of­fer­ing, he ex­plains, is a fresh ap­proach in the in­dus­try rel­a­tive to tra­di­tion­ally com­modi­tised bank­ing propo­si­tions. In other words, it is geared to the way clients would like to be served and not nec­es­sar­ily the way banks be­lieve they should be served.

Born in Dur­ban in 1961, Soon­dar­jee ma­tric­u­lated at Chatsworth High School, and qual­i­fied as a char­tered ac­coun­tant. “Prior to join­ing Sas­fin, I spent 10 years with Deloitte, wanted to get into the bank­ing in­dus­try, and the choice was to go to a big bank or a small bank,” he says. “I fi­nally elected to join Sas­fin whose model specif­i­cally ap­pealed to me, and came in as group CFO.”

Roger Dunn has been ap­pointed head of Sas­fin’s trans­ac­tional bank­ing unit.

The de­ci­sion to star t trans­ac­tional bank­ing was sparked by the re­al­i­sa­tion that Sas­fin ur­gently needed t o be­come op­ti­mal l y rel­e­vant to its clients and im­prove the cus­tomer ex­pe­ri­ence, Soon­dar­jee ex­plains.

“We had con­tin­u­ous con­ver­sa­tions over the years on how to up­grade a nd i mprove s er vi c e s for clients. We looked at var­i­ous ap­pli­ca­tions, had dis­cus­sions with var­i­ous ser­vice providers and it was in try­ing to at­tract de­posit cl ients t hat it be­came ob­vi­ous that we needed to be a full trans­ac­tional bank.

“To­day, al l y ou r bank­ing can be housed in Sas­fin. We of­fer a full trans­ac­tional bank­ing plat­form via elec­tronic bank­ing and the in­ter­net and we’re able to pro­vide what­ever you’d get at any other bank. This in­cludes be­ing a full clear­ing and set­tle­ment bank.”

The ini­tia­tive was set up in in record time (one year) with tech­nol­ogy part­ner Di­rect Trans­act and the plat­form went live in early De­cem­ber.

“Our tar­get mar­ket re­mains pri­vate clients, high-net-worth in­di­vid­u­als, smal­land medium-sized en­ter­prises and larger cor­po­rates,” says Soon­dar­jee. “That’s the mar­ket we un­der­stand and to which we’re pri­mar­ily of­fer­ing trans­ac­tional bank­ing prod­ucts.

“But th­ese will be pre­sented cre­atively, namely high-tech, high-touch bank­ing ap­pli­ca­tions which we be­lieve will be well re­ceived. While we don’t op­er­ate on a branch ba­sis, our ap­proach is per­son­alised and our so­lu­tion is high tech. The full elec­tronic ser vice i ncludes i nter­net bank­ing, card ser­vice, mo­bile bank­ing and ATMs. We are not of­fer­ing re­tail lend­ing, but this is some­thing we could con­sider down the line.”

Soon­dar­jee is un­der no i l lu­sion, how­ever, that com­ing up against the ‘ big four’ banks re­quires a dif­fi­cult sell, given that bank­ing is largely built on re­la­tion­ships.

“But key re­quire­ments sought by clients to­day are qual­ity ser­vice, ease of ser­vice and com­pet­i­tive pric­ing. We be­lieve that we’re able to tick all those boxes. In fact, our of­fer­ing is very com­pet­i­tively priced.

“Nor do we have the le­gacy is­sues of ot her banks. We’ve done t he im­ple­men­ta­tion very smartly, we’ve been af­forded a low-cost en­try into trans­ac­tional bank­ing, and, as such, we’re well placed to of­fer clients a bet­ter price for a state of art ser­vice. Be­sides, our so­lu­tion is cen­tred on ‘pay as you use’.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.