The year 2023 is a special one for Uganda’s largest indigenous bank. Centenary bank is celebrating 40 years of transforming the country’s banking sector.
Because of their rural development agenda, Centenary bank transformed Uganda’s banking from an elitist perspective to targeting the ordinary person.
And when the world experienced the digital revolution over the past decade, Centenary bank has been at the forefront of championing a shift from over-the-counter transactions to digital services such as Cente Mobile and, most recently, the partnership with Cente Tech.
The bank is working with Cente Tech, a Technology company started about two years ago by Centenary Group to drive the institution’s wider digital agenda. According to Joseph Kiwanuka Balikuddembe, the executive director of Centenary bank, since partnering with Cente Tech, there has been a tremendous change in the bank’s smart or digital journey.
“We have an estimate of about 1.3 million customers that are using our alternative channels. We have also seen a vast drop over the last two years in terms of over-the-counter transactions because we are seeing a larger volume of clients going to the digital channels using ATMs, agent banking, our Mobile APP and USSD,” he says, adding;
“We are now driving the digital smart bank agenda which we intend to achieve by 2026. We believe in making our customers’ lives easier and simpler.”
Centenary Technology Services
According to Steven Kirenga, the head of product, business development and customer experience at Centenary Technology Services (Cente Tech), they are helping the bank to radically change customer experiences through digital interventions.
“Centenary bank, being the largest in Uganda and second most profitable, we at Cente Tech are helping them with their technology for customers who are using Cente app, USSD or Cente Mobile. If you have been a customer for more than one year, you must have noticed that between February 2022 and now, there has been a big change – all because of what we are able to do,” he says.
Kirenga notes that while Centenary Bank was already running a mobile application for clients before this partnership, they have had to make several changes to ensure customer satisfaction.
“We undertook an audit and brought our expertise from a digital perspective and changed some of the processes that the APP does. The improved version of the app allows you to pay for a multitude of things and has a better experience,” he says.
Balikuddembe, the Centenary bank executive director is grateful to this partnership because it has reduced the burden at their respective physical branches as more customers continue to prefer alternative banking channels.
In the same vein, Kirenga welcomes the ongoing partnership with Centenary bank because partnerships between banks and technology companies eventually work to the benefit of the final consumers.
“At Cente Tech, we believe that we can’t build everything. If there is somebody providing a service that we can use, we will approach them and build a partnership to serve the people,” he says.
40 Days 40 FinTechs
CenteTech is the 38th participant in this year’s 40 Days 40 FinTechs initiative which is organised to shine a light on life-changing innovations and solutions targeting under-served communities. Kirenga says that the truth about building transformation is consistency and effort.
“That is what HiPipo is doing through the 40 days 40 FinTechs initiative. This is season four, which means consistency. I applaud HiPipo for shining a light on the industry. This is called sustainable inclusion. We should join them in this noble cause.” he said.
Now in its fourth season, HiPipo’s 40 Days 40 FinTechs initiative has become a household name in the financial technology space of the East African region. In the last three editions, more than 100 FinTechs have been showcased, highlighting stories changing people’s lives, especially in the under-served sectors.
The 40 Days 40 FinTechs initiative is run by HiPipo in partnership with Level One Project, Mojaloop Foundation, INFITX, Cyberplc Academy, Ideation Corner and Crosslake Technologies with support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Source: The Observer