Creating a New Market of Banking Customers
Based in Bangladesh, Dutch-Bangla Bank Limited (DBBL) engineers enterprise and creativity in business and industry with a commitment to social responsibility. Technology is a key business driver for the bank, and its proficiency in this endeavor has attracted a large number of corporate and retail customers.
After conducting market research, DBBL discovered that 87 percent of the potential customers in Bangladesh did not have a bank account of any type due to the lack of any branch office near where they live. The study also revealed that 50 percent of this market-segment possessed a mobile phone.
“We recognized this as a tremendous opportunity if we could find a way to make it possible for people to access our banking services through their mobile phones,” Abul Kashem Md. Shirin says. “But to do so, we also realized we would need to rely on mobile-platform technology that would make it easy and secure for people to conduct their banking online.”
DBBL set out to create a solution where customers could manage money via their mobile phones serving as a “mobile wallet” capable of depositing and withdrawing money as well as other financial transactions. In addition to making banking more convenient for customers, this approach also offered a low-cost transaction methodology for DBBL.
“Deploying such a banking solution is much less costly than trying to expand services through new branch locations or even ATM machines,” Mr. Shirin says. “Building branches and deploying physical assets require big investments and a lot of manpower. These approaches would also force us to go through a complex permission process with the Bangladesh Bank (Central Bank of Bangladesh).”
Sybase Mobile Technology Offers Superior Banking Capabilities
In searching for a mobile device platform on which to build its banking applications, DBBL considered solutions from different developers but found that Sybase mBanking 365 met the requirements most cost-effectively. “Sybase has vast experience in mobile technology and has proven itself by delivering reliable solutions on-time along with expert support,” Mr. Shirin says. “We also found that Sybase mBanking 365 best met our technical requirements—with enough flexibility to allow us to customize the platform according to the needs of our front-end application.”
Sybase mBanking 365 enables financial institutions to introduce mobile banking services that allow customers to have the flexibility and convenience of managing finances over their mobile phones. Customers can make micropayments, check account balances, transfer money, pay bills and execute other financial transactions. Financial institutions can easily integrate the mBanking platform with existing banking platforms and their core banking systems so that they can offer innovative mobile commerce services.
Platform Flexibility Allows for Customization to Meet Bank Requirements
The Sybase professional services team assisted DBBL software engineers with the Sybase mBanking 365 implementation and helped customize the platform to meet the bank’s specific requirements. Neurosoft Technology, a Sybase solutions partner in Bangladesh, also assisted.
The solution is configured with many key attributes that offer unlimited scalability in terms of the number of customers and simultaneous users as well as the maximum throughput and speed that the system can handle.
“The Sybase team was particularly helpful in customizing the platform for bank-specific requirements,” Mr. Shirin says. “This includes implementing the chart of accounts and parameters such as product definitions and fee definitions.”
Banking Services Now Available For the First Time for Many Consumers
With the Sybase mBanking 365 platform, DBBL can easily register selected banking agents that are authorized to work with customers. The platform also makes it easy for customers to open accounts at agent points and check account balances. Customers can then make deposits and withdrawals at any agent point with their mobile phone serving as the device to authorize the transactions.
Although customers are not aware that the Sybase mBanking 365 platform powers the DBBL mobile application, the technology enables them to conduct many banking transactions. For example, customers can arrange to have employers or the Bangladesh government automatically deposit payments to their mobile wallets, and they can transfer money to another customer’s mobile wallet. Customers can also make merchant payments and pay utility bills. The account remains secure by requiring PIN access, and the PIN can be changed right from the mobile phone.
The Sybase mBanking 365 customization has allowed DBBL to create a mobile banking solution that meets the needs of Bangladeshi consumers that do not live near bank locations. By designing and deploying the solution quickly, Sybase also enabled DBBL to become the first bank in Bangladesh to offer a mobile banking solution.
Existing and new customers have adopted the new technology quickly, and the agent network DBBL partners with is enthusiastically marketing the service in their respective localities. “A large segment of people that lived too far away from banks to open accounts can now conduct all types of banking transactions,” Mr. Shirin says. “Previously, we could not reach this untapped market, but Sybase made it possible by creating an environment that lets us connect to anyone with a mobile phone.”
The new mobile banking solution has also prompted the need for DBBL to recruit a large number of new employees to provide services for the expanded customer base, which is growing rapidly. In addition, the solution is a new source of revenue for the mobile-phone network operators and banking agents that DBBL partners with. With consumers linking to DBBL for banking services via their mobile operator, they are less likely to switch to another operator.
A New Era of Banking for Bangladesh
“The Sybase mBanking 365 platform is customized to the extent that it’s very easy and quick for consumers, agents and merchants to use the service,” Mr. Shirin says. “This has accelerated the adoption of the technology.”
DBBL now has a new business channel that is much less costly to support compared to building branch offices and installing ATMs, and Sybase mBanking 365, with is user-friendly environment, gives the bank a competitive advantage. Many Bangladeshi consumers are glad they can now conduct banking at any time from any place in an easy manner.
“Sybase mBanking 365 made it possible for us to create a new era of banking in Bangladesh,” Mr. Shirin says. “The solution is equivalent to giving us a new banking license, and we can now generate new business by connecting with a previously-untapped segment of customers. Mobile banking is a tremendous new innovation and when powered by Sybase mBanking 365, it becomes fully operational.”