Christo Vrey, Head of Absa Digital Banking, says the update represents a “completely new user experience” for digital banking and, unlike traditional Internet banking, Absa Online is “no longer about just transactional requirements, but gives Absa customers easy access to all products and services within the group.”
Commenting on the launch Jouk Pleiter, Backbase CEO said: “From the first day we met the Absa team, we were impressed with their Bank 2.0 vision. It’s great to see how they have been able to translate their bold vision into a fully functional, market-leading banking interface. Now that the platform is in place, Absa can fully benefit from having an agile customer experience architecture, and drive faster customer innovation along with increasing share of wallet and customer loyalty.”
Absa Online has also been optimised for tablet use; and the services layer of the architecture will be the starting point for the redevelopment of the bank’s WAP-based mobile banking service later in 2012.
Vrey says the new online banking platform is “Web 2.0-oriented” and is designed to empower Absa’s retail customer to be in control of their finances. The platform includes new features like widgets that enable customers to personalize their Absa Online experience, a secure messaging service between the customer and the bank, and various personal financial management (PFM) tools that enable Absa customers to better manage their finances.
“You can take all of your relationships in the broader Absa Group, from share-trading portfolios and unit trusts to home loans, and get a consolidated and comprehensive view of your entire Absa portfolio. The new Secure Messaging Service allows users a safe and reliable way to communicate with the bank. The PFM widget offers spend tracking, budgeting and goal setting. The self-service widgets enable customers to easily enroll for new products or update the bank about changes automatically.” says Vrey.
The new platform is off to a good start. According to Vrey, in the early phase of the beta launch, a large number of Internet banking users who had logged in had already opted to use the new version of Absa Online – with highly positive initial feedback.
The Absa Group Limited (Absa), listed on the JSE Limited, is one of South Africa’s largest financial services groups, with over 12,1 million customers, offering a complete range of retail, business, corporate and investment banking, insurance, and wealth management products and services. The Group’s business is conducted primarily in South Africa. It also has equity holdings in banks in Mozambique and Tanzania, representative offices in Namibia and Nigeria and bancassurance operations in Botswana and Mozambique.
At 31 December 2011, the Group had 718,2 million shares in issue and a market capitalisation of R101,27 billion. The Group had assets of R786,7 billion, 12,1 million customers, 9541 automated teller machines and 35.200 permanent employees.
Absa is a subsidiary of Barclays Bank PLC, which holds a stake of 55,5% in the Group. Barclays is a major global financial services provider engaged in retail and commercial banking, credit cards, investment banking, wealth management and investment management services with an extensive international presence in Europe, the USA, Africa and Asia.