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FNB ex-CEO Michael Jordaan to launch app-driven bank

Jan 16 2018 11:22
Lameez Omarjee

Cape Town – Former FNB CEO and current venture capitalist Michael Jordaan is making a return to banking with a new "app-driven bank" he has co-founded, which is set to launch later in 2018.

Jordaan on Tuesday morning tweeted that he had an “exciting announcement” to make at around 09:00.

“Business banking fees are much higher than fees for individuals. That’s a problem. And an opportunity for a startup to bring relief,” he tweeted, before publishing a link to the new venture, Bank Zero.

According to a press release on Bank Zero’s website, it is 45% black-owned. The bank is expected to be launched in the fourth quarter of 2018, and has been granted a provisional licence by the South African Reserve Bank.

The venture was founded by Jordaan, as chairperson, and Yatin Narsai, who is the CEO. They previously both worked together at FNB.

“Bank Zero will offer a unique and fresh approach to banking without any legacy systems which can be costly to maintain,” the statement read.

"Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter and Instagram are the new normal for societies. Why shouldn't banks also innovate in this era of wider connectedness while still ensuring a robust banking value proposition?

"Bank Zero is addressing these realities, while employing cutting-edge technologies and delivering state-of-the-art security,” Jordaan was quoted as saying in the statement. 

Bank Zero will be a mutual, or a customer-owned, bank. “The mutual banking concept mirrors current social media trends and benefits customers by allowing for the support and creation of financial communities.

“It also provides for a capital-efficient framework, and Bank Zero will be sharing the subsequent cost benefits with its customers (both businesses and individuals).”

The bank has specifically been developed to form part of a new frontier of banking dominated by innovation, said Narsai in a statement. "Coupled with the mutual banking concept, this will help nurture a savings culture in South Africa. New technologies, together with tried-and-tested account features like chip-and-pin cards, will deliver real value to our customers,” he said. 

On its website, Bank Zero put out a call for Java developers to join the team.

It has not yet explained in more detail how the app-driven banking concept will work. 

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