Apr 13 , 2020

The new version makes mobile and internet banking, digital transactions, and other general banking services easy, according to Melaku.

All the branches of United Bank went live at the beginning of this month with the latest version of core banking system implemented by a team of in-house IT staff members.

The new core banking solution, Flexcube and Oracle Banking Digital Experience (OBDX), integrates United's conventional, Islamic, loan origination and internet core banking systems. By implementing the system locally, the management of the Bank was able to save the 26 million Br it would have cost to hire a company to install the system.

The team, which is comprised of eight IT professionals from the Bank, including its current president, Melaku Kebede, fully implemented the system in seven months. In July 2019, the eight professionals went to Bangalore, India, for three weeks to train on how to implement the software. Three out of the eight also went to Mumbai a second time for an additional three weeks of training.

The team carried out the implementation without any disruption or disturbances, according to Melaku, who was appointed CEO four months ago.

United Bank, which was established in 1998, implemented the first integrated iteration of Oracle CORE Banking Solutions 13 years ago. The database system enables banks to centralise their records and allow access from any location. Throughout the years, the Bank, which has over one million customers, has accumulated 36 billion Br worth of assets and has upgraded the core banking system twice.

Oracle installed the first core banking solution for the Bank. Later, the IT team of the Bank upgraded the solution seven years ago. The two versions incorporated only conventional core banking; however, the latest upgrade integrates loan origination information, Islamic banking practices, and internet core banking with the conventional system.

The new version makes mobile and internet banking, digital transactions, and other general banking services easy, according to Melaku.

"This will enable the Bank to better cater to the requirements of its customers in an efficient, cost-effective and secure manner," Melaku told Fortune.

Oracle Corporation released the latest version of the system in May 2019 and United, which employs 4,500 people, started the installation process in September 2019. The solution also integrates the four operations of the Bank: financing and accounting, lending and loans, international banking, and retail and transaction services.

The latest version incorporates artificial intelligence, chat bots and other programmes the obsolete version does not have, according to Melaku.

To operate the new core banking solution, the Bank bought a larger data server capable of storing 256GB of RAM compared to the previous server with only 128 GB of RAM.

The new version will replace the system that was updated seven years ago. When the Bank last upgraded the system, it had 73 branches. Now there are 322 branches throughout the country along with 119 ATMs and 500 Point of Sale (PoS) devices.

Currently, around seven banks in the country use Flexcube OBDX banking software, while the other banks use the TEMENOS banking system.

Henock Ephrem, a lecturer of computer science at Debre Birhan University, says that the Bank has benefited highly from implementing the system by itself, ensuring cyber-security and faster transactions.

PUBLISHED ON Apr 13,2020 [ VOL 21 , NO 1041]

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