At a Glance

Achieves first-mover advantage with the first fully digital banking services in Ethiopia

1,000+ new accounts opened each day, helping to increase financial inclusion

4 months to implement Temenos digital banking

Takes seconds to process and approve loans applications, rather than months previously

Established in 1996, Bank of Abyssinia is currently the largest privately held bank in Ethiopia, and plans to become the leading commercial bank in East Africa by 2030. To reach this milestone, the bank is on a mission to grow its customer base, boosting financial inclusion in the country and beyond.

Helping more Ethiopians access banking services

According to the National Bank of Ethiopia, 75 percent of Ethiopians don’t have a bank account and up to 40 percent of all bank branches in the country are located near to the capital. For many years, banks have struggled to expand their reach beyond urban centers as setting up and running branches in rural locations involves significant upfront capital expenditure and high operational costs.

However, market conditions are rapidly changing in Ethiopia, as more people gain regular and reliable access to the internet. Bank of Abyssinia identified an opportunity to help more people access financial services by building a 100 percent digital banking offering.

Addis Tadesse, Director for Application Management at Bank of Abyssinia, explains: “We’ve offered digital banking services for many years, but most of these services still required our customers to visit a branch at some stage – for instance, to bring identification to open new accounts. Also, some processes such as loan applications required in-person consultations. If we could make the experience completely digital, we would be able to reach underserved communities in remote areas and dramatically increase our market share.”

With no other bank in Ethiopia offering a fully digital service, Bank of Abyssinia decided to pioneer the new approach and searched for a technology partner to support its initiative. Crucially, the bank targeted a solution provider that would help it deliver a truly seamless digital experience and ensure that it could meet strict regulatory requirements for new digital banks set by the National Bank of Ethiopia.

Finding the perfect solution

Bank of Abyssinia decided to build 100 percent digital banking services with Temenos. At the same time, the bank chose to upgrade its Temenos core banking system to ensure that it could provide customers with the very latest innovations in both digital and in-branch banking.

“We’ve used Temenos core banking for over 10 years and throughout that time we’ve seen how reliable, scalable and robust Temenos solutions are. For example, Temenos core banking has been easy to customize, and provides real-time reports that enable us to track the overall financial performance and efficiency of the bank. These in-depth insights help our executive leadership to make smarter operational decisions.”

Addis Tadesse, Director for Application Management at Bank of Abyssinia

Protecting against fraud

As the first bank in Ethiopia to launch entirely digital services, Bank of Abyssinia knew its new platform would be a potential target for fraudsters and cyber criminals. To safeguard against this risk, Bank of Abyssinia also decided to implement Temenos Financial Crime Mitigation—equipping the bank with the tools to spot and prevent illicit activity in near real-time.

“When your only interaction with new customers is online, it’s vital that you can verify their identity from the moment they sign up. With Temenos Financial Crime Mitigation, we can identify potential fraudsters and immediately prevent them from making transactions. And because Temenos digital banking is built with open banking in mind, we can easily integrate third-party identity solutions to support our Know-Your-Customer activities.”

Addis Tadesse, Director for Application Management at Bank of Abyssinia

Deepening partnerships

To achieve a rapid implementation, Bank of Abyssinia enlisted the support of Temenos business partner Xpert Digital to deploy Temenos digital banking, including the setup of an API integration with Idemia—the bank’s identity and security solution. Supported by Temenos and Xpert Digital, Temenos digital banking went live in just four months.

“Xpert Digital played a lead role in helping us design a digital banking ecosystem that is secure, reliable and, crucially, easy to use,” comments Addis Tadesse. “The Xpert Digital team went the extra mile by helping us to redesign key workflows for a completely digital environment incorporating best practices. For instance, they helped us to leverage integrations with Idemia to build efficient, highly secure and automated verification processes—allowing us to onboard customers rapidly and with confidence.”

Welcoming new digital customers

By building and launching end-to-end digital banking services with Temenos core and digital banking platforms, Bank of Abyssinia has significantly increased its customer base.

“Temenos gives us the tools we need to offer reliable, convenient and always-on digital banking services,” explains Addis Tadesse. “Today, through our Apollo service, customers can sign up for an account from their mobiles by submitting a video of themselves and a copy of their national identity card. With Temenos Financial Crime Mitigation and Idemia, we can run verification processes quickly and get new customers up and running with their new bank account within one day.”

“We’re impressed with the growth we have seen since we implemented Temenos digital banking. We are seeing up to 1,000 new accounts opened every day, and the majority of these are via our digital banking channel—and we expect this number to increase in the months ahead.”

Addis Tadesse, Director for Application Management at Bank of Abyssinia

Empowering more people to invest in their future

As well as offering digital account management services, Bank of Abyssinia enables customers to apply for loans via its mobile banking app—helping more people to access credit, as Addis Tadesse adds: “With Temenos digital banking, we can approve the loan and give our customer to their funds within a few seconds, as long as they meet our lending criteria, where previously this would take months.”

He concludes: “With Temenos, we’ve been able to bring a game-changing solution to the Ethiopian banking sector and empower our customers to bank with us confidently at any time and from any location. We look forward to strengthening our partnership with Temenos in the years ahead as we continue to develop our digital banking offerings and help more customers manage their money effectively.”

Temenos Ambassador Awards 2023

Delighted to recognize Bank of Abyssinia as one of the winners of the Innovation Hero Awards for deploying an innovative and impactful project, using a Temenos solution.

We partnered successfully with

Xpert Digital (XD) is a Certified Temenos Services Partner specializing in delivering exceptional digital experiences by creatively nurturing innovation with technology.