Fern Solutions for Financial Institutions
Rural Financial Services Delivery
Many of our clients work in locations where Internet access, and often mobile coverage is not available. Their field staff need to be able to quickly and securely sign up new customers; capture their biometric data; and also offer cash collection and disbursement services.
AbacusField, our tablet application, is designed to work offline in locations with little or no connectivity, and uses an innovative interface with Abacus that enables synchronisation on a periodic basis whilst maintaining data integrity. This enables field staff to process ad-hoc as well as planned transactions for their client portfolio– enabling you to provide a truly branchless banking service in even the most rural areas.
When signing up a new client, you can capture biometric data such as client photographs and fingerprint. All customer transactions will display the customer photo and require fingerprint verification. A receipt can be printed from a small mobile printer.
The Financial Inclusion Challenge
In the Democratic Republic of Congo, a large percentage of the country has no connectivity. Covering a large geographical area (>2million km2), with a low population density (34 people per km2) and an unreliable security situation, there are significant challenges to delivering low-cost and relevant financial services to the people who most need them.
A microfinance institution (MFI) in the country needs to be able to disburse government (G2P) payments across a wide area, and to verify the identity of the recipients. At the same time, they wish to encourage the recipients to start saving for the future, and eventually to be eligible for a loan.
Operationally, the challenges are the lack of connectivity in the locations where the G2P recipients live; the security situation making maintaining on-premise banking solutions a risky proposition; and the need to be able to respond to customer requests for new account opening, deposit and withdrawal on-demand.
The Fern Solution
Fern provided the MFI with a cloud hosted version of its market-leading inclusive finance banking solution, Abacus, hosted securely in the cloud. The MFI defined a wide range of different savings products that were well-suited to the needs of their target market.
The Police Credit Union United Kingdom
The Police Credit Union (PCU) was set up by the police in the United Kingdom, as a savings and loan mutual for the benefit of serving and retired police officers/police staff and members of their households. It now serves the wider protective services including prison officers, probation officers and members of the armed forces serving all over the world. With over 40,000 members, they operate from regional branch offices mainly covering England and Wales.
After over twenty years of business, their systems were grinding to a halt. Their IT department had to manage 43 different databases just to provide a daily service to their members – and with a rapidly changing environment in UK lending, the PCU needed to reinvent its service offering in order to stay relevant and accessible to its clients. They determined that the best approach was to overhaul all its systems and implement a state of the art real-time 24/7 platform that its members could interface with from home, office and mobile.
The Fern Solution
Abacus Internet Banking was that solution. The Abacus Internet Banking platform is a cloud hosted implementation of Abacus that enables PCU to take advantage of the extensive functionality of Abacus without requiring any hardware investment on responsibility for ongoing maintenance. The Abacus Internet Banking is provided as a managed service by Fern Software, and in order to comply with UK Financial Industry regulations is hosted on an AWS server that is within UK borders.
As part of the Abacus implementation, Fern Software standardised and consolidated the 43 individual regional databases, enabling a single centralised multi-branch implementation.
Abacus Internet Banking enabled PCU to offer a more complete service to their members. The strong product definition capabilities of Abacus enabled them to expand the range of products and services they offered. The new members online access is a huge part of this new interactive service, allowing the customer to do everything that they could only previously have done if they visited a branch. It is delivered via two separate websites for the different members – policecu.co.uk for the police and serveandprotectcu.co.uk for the army – both of which link to the centralised Abacus implementation.
Modules for Abacus
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.
Talk to Us
Contact our Sales Manager to find out more about Abacus.