Tsesnabank Invests In The Future With WAY4
After 12 years in the cards business, Tsesnabank, one of the top three financial institutions in Kazakhstan, realized it needed to invest in and modernize its major IT systems to continue innovating and competing effectively. In the record time of four months, the bank migrated to the WAY4 payment processing platform from OpenWay. Balzhan Baisheva, Managing Director, Tsesnabank, talks about the quick migration, the reasons for choosing the new platform and how WAY4 is driving the future for Tsesnabank.
When changes are inevitable
Tsesnabank entered the cards business in 2004 when we became an associate member of Visa. By 2009, we were operating our own processing centre, issuing a range of different card products, and building up our acquiring ATM and POS network as principal member of Visa payment system.
The processing platform we originally chose back in 2004 was adequate for our short-term needs. However ten years later, my colleagues on the senior management team and the board knew that we had to re-invest in our core capabilities to support our longer-term growth plans.
With the increase in digital banking and the popularity of online and self-service channels, we wanted to foster a more direct, personalized and proactive relationship with our customers. It was no longer feasible or cost-effective for us to continue upgrading the platform and software we were using. A complete overhaul was necessary to deliver a better and more differentiated service to the market, plus financial benefits to the bank.
Tsesnabank has been recognized internationally, winning
‘Kazakhstan’s Bank of the Year’ from The Banker magazine,
‘Best Commercial Bank in Kazakhstan’ from British publication World Finance,
and ‘Best Bank in Kazakhstan’ at the 2014 Euromoney Awards for Excellence.
Based on the requirements of the many departments involved, we prepared a list of functions crucial for business development, support, control and accounting. A standard procurement process was launched, and the WAY4 processing platform was selected over other solutions.
Together with OpenWay, the vendor, we weighed the pros and cons of possible migration approaches, from the total reissuance of all our cards to the migration of the current portfolio overnight. We chose to migrate all our credit and debit cards in one go, starting with the authorization component immediately followed by the clearing component. The ATM and POS network was handled differently: we switched out devices one at a time over a couple of months.
We completed the majority of the tasks ourselves in-house; we had approximately 15 Tsesnabank employees directly involved in the migration process. The OpenWay team provided constant assistance at all stages throughout the project.
Summing up, we are satisfied with our experience of migrating to the new system. All the work, including international payment system certification, took only four months — from August to November 2014.
After the project, a team of Tsesnabank specialists received accelerated training at the OpenWay Academy, and now implement these learnings in their day-to-day work. Additionally, some employees had worked with WAY4 products previously at other organizations, and also pass on their know-how to colleagues. Our bank is quickly developing in-house expertise around the new processing infrastructure.
Delivering tangible benefits
When selecting the new system, we were particularly attracted by the fact that the WAY4 architecture unifies the front- and back-office. Consequently, it has provided well-designed internal processes, convenient interfaces and overall system reliability in every area of our business: authorization, clearing, financial reconciliation, risk management, marketing and customer service.
At the same time, this platform allows a seamless online integration with different external systems. We were able to integrate WAY4 with our core banking system and build a unique interface for our branch network. Branch managers can now credit or debit funds from a customer’s card account in seconds and see the balance updated immediately, irrespective of the branch where the customer banks. We call this ‘cardholder roaming’ — our customers love it and so do our staff.
"Due to WAY4, we got rid of a lot of unnecessary duplication, checks and business processes,
and freed sta up from routine procedures.
Now we have more time and capacity to develop the payment business".
With regard to data analytics and business information (BI), the new platform allows us to store, systematize and retrieve customer and transaction data more easily. We can analyze historic patterns and forecast trends in a way that is critical for day-to-day product management, new product development and innovation.
Right after the migration, Tsesnabank introduced a range of conceptually new services such as card customer roaming across the branch network. In the autumn of 2015, we began issuing and acquiring MasterCard cards for the first time, and soon we are going to work with another international payment system. We are also working on several other projects to increase our competitive advantage, such as launching contactless cards, mobile and online banking, e-commerce acquiring and P2P transfers. And when something new and exciting appears in the world of payment services and products, Tsesnabank customers will be the lucky ones who are the first to get it.
Investment in technology and processes is important for securing the future of a business, but I firmly believe that the investment in people — customers, staff and supplier partners — leaves the longest-lasting legacy. It is crucial that teams share the same philosophy, principles and values. We are very thankful to OpenWay, and in particular to its employees who supported this project, for their professionalism and caring approach to our customers.