Digital transformation allows Grindrod Bank to scale beyond size
Business

Digital transformation allows Grindrod Bank to scale beyond size

November 06, 2018
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Caption: Nomashni Naidoo, IT Governance Specialist and Andrew Turpin, Chief Operations Officer

Grindrond Bank, an investment bank which provides bespoke financial services to private, corporate and institutional clients, has proven that innovation is key to success and is winning in its digital transformation initiatives.

With technologies such as cloud computing, containerisation, public application programming interface (API) already part of its solutions, the digital transformation journey of Grindrod Bank, a local investment bank, has already started paying off for the financial services institution and the IT industry is taking note.

Andrew Turpin, Chief Operating Officer at Grindrod Bank, says continual technological innovation is key to the bank’s success, "so that when we engage with clients we transform and enable new and existing business models.  I expect the net effect of the digital transformation we are seeing in the banking sector will result in new consumption patterns, new socio-economic benefits and eventually changes to policy and attitudes regarding the banking services industry.”

“Our digital transformation journey has allowed us to scale beyond the constraints of our size and reach. We have done this by combining innovative business arrangements, together with transformative technology solutions, and better ways to utilise data to monitor and manage these partnerships,” he says.

Grindrod Bank featured well at the recent South African ISACA® Awards.

Turpin won the Winston Hayden Leadership Award, which is provided to an individual who champions strategic leadership, development and relevance within the field of Information Technology Risk, Audit & Assurance, Governance, Security and Cybersecurity.

Nomashni Naidoo, the bank's IT Governance Specialist, won the Young Professional of the Year Award, which is provided to an individual who demonstrates passion, growth, a desire to learn and displays commitment to professional development in the field of Information Technology Risk, Audit & Assurance, Governance, Security and Cybersecurity.

 The latest transformative technology Grindrod Bank has employed has been its Open Banking API which it launched publicly on 1 October 2018. Open banking enables third parties to develop new products and services through the use of APIs.

By working together and taking advantage of APIs, banks and fintech firms can leverage their complementary strengths, enhancing the customer experience often by more than either entity could do on its own.

“We celebrated the Open Banking API launch at our annual RE-IMAGINE HACKATHON in Johannesburg,” says Turpin. He reveals that the event was attended by 14 start-up and fintech teams who were all building solutions to work with the API.

Turpin notes that Grindrod Bank has had an API-based partnership model with fintechs for some years now and at the hackathon, the well-deserving winners took home a R25 000 prize.

The Grindrod Bank API sandbox is available for viewing at hackit.grindrodbank.co.za. The Bank API is a secure micro service built for Grindrod Bank partners. This cloud solution enables third parties to integrate their systems with Grindrod Bank’s banking system. The API sandbox is a convenient way to understand the various request and response structures so that developers can more readily integrate their applications with the bank.

“By working with selected partners, clients are offered enhanced service and functionality when these fintech's integrate with our APIs,” says Turpin. “One case in particular has seen increased efficiency and convenience in the managing of Attorney Trust accounts as a consequence. In the end, our aim with technology is simply to equip our partners and agents to be able to offer the best service to clients.”

Another characteristic of Grindrod Bank’s technological environment is the large amount of open source software it has been able to utilise.

“This has been great for security. When banks deploy proprietary software they do so without knowing what is inside that software. It is not auditability at a code level, and often imported software is extremely pricey.  This is not the case with open source code,” Turpin concludes.

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