The single most important source of competitive advantage has become the ability of organisations to adapt to change.
Fern solutions have been designed for more than four decades to support inclusive financial services providers in launching customer-centric products and effectively managing relationships; monitoring portfolio performance and social impacts; and gaining access to meaningful information on which to base strategic decisions.
Fern’s core banking system, Abacus, provides community-based financial institutions with a solution that is both comprehensive and easy-to-use. Abacus offers a cost effective, modern, fully integrated and scalable solution that will not only meet current operational requirements, but also the challenges of advancing technology, market development and product offerings.
As a community-based financial institution, a large percentage of your new (and existing) customers use informal products – including group savings, ad-hoc daily rate loans and more. In order to grow and retain your client base, your products need to offer a compelling value proposition over and above what your customers use right now: however, informal products often have a wide range of different features that have evolved over time, and many of these features can’t be replicated in a typical banking system, so financial institutions tend to ignore them.
Our policy of maintaining a single global version, and enabling our clients to configure all new features as and when needed through a secure user interface, means that Abacus can easily adapt to each organisation’s changing needs. Launching new products; adjusting existing products; plugging in new delivery channels and changing reporting structures when regulatory requirements change can all be done quickly and easily – enabling you to be agile and adaptable in today’s rapidly-changing world.
The rapid rise of mobile phone networks, and the fall in cost of mobile technology, has made alternative delivery channels a cost-effective way for financial institutions to increase their outreach and improve their efficiency while working in the field.
Abacus supports easy alternative delivery channels integration: our open database design and inbuilt APIs let you connect to established mobile money services; plug into ATM networks; and equip your field staff or agents with tablet devices that can be used even when there is no mobile network or internet connection. When combined with our ability to work in a hosted, centralised or decentralised environment, increasing outreach doesn’t mean complex infrastructure requirements.
Fern is used to dealing with challenging environments such as remote locations with poor infrastructure, low or intermittent connectivity and competition for IT skills. For this reason, our solutions are designed to work in a wide range of different environments:
On Laptop or Tablet
For small offices or rural locations, you don’t need or want a huge, complicated IT network – but you do want functionality and flexibility from your software. Our solutions are heavy on functionality, but light on hardware needs.
Local Branch Processing with periodic data consolidation to Head Office
In areas of poor connectivity, a fully centralised solution may not always be viable. Our decentralised/consolidation feature enables daily local processing with end-of-day (or end-of month) incremental data transfer and consolidation at head office, for institution-wide reporting.
With reliable connectivity, branches can be fully online to a central server – our web interface has been designed to enable branches to connect even in low bandwidth areas.
If you’d prefer not to have to manage any hardware yourself, our software can be hosted at a national provider in your country – combining convenience with regulatory compliance.
We understand that choosing the right software solution for your financial institution can be a challenge. Our approach to working with financial institutions who are looking for a new solution to help support a new stage in their growth is to engage with all areas of the business, ensuring that we:
- Understand how we can support the key business drivers behind the planned system replacement
- Can enable both the products you have now, and the ones you want to offer in the future
- Will be able to improve efficiency through improved workflows and enhanced controls
- Can provide your management with the level of insight into their data that drives informed decision making
- Can clearly and unambiguously demonstrate that we will meet your identified needs, and explain how we will achieve it
Through 40 years and 400 implementations, we have built up considerable experience: dozens of interest calculation methodologies, workflows, fee calculations and innovative savings and loan products. Our approach to implementation is therefore a holistic one, focused on supporting you in realising a positive Return on Investment.