A wave has just hit South Africa’s Banking Industry, who will be left behind?


Tyme Bank is the new kid on the block promising to help South Africans achieve their full potential. The bank empowers South Africans to take back control of their money by helping them understand how money really works and giving them a transparent view of their own financial situations. Is this what customers are looking for from banking? What does banking mean for South African consumers? Could it be that Tyme Bank is the answer to the pain points of the South African consumer as far as banking is concerned?

Let us look at some statistics:

Tyme Bank announced an innovative partnership with SA’s largest religious affiliation, the Zionist Christian Church, which will see TymeBank become the financial services partner of choice for the members of the church. This partnership gives Tyme Bank access to the 12 million members of the church with 9 million of those members based in South Africa. This 9 million represents 16% of the 56 million (as at 2017 based on statistics by Stats SA) which leaves 84% of the population to be shared by all 11 banks including Tyme Bank. The black population of S.A made up 79% of the entire population in 2017, this means that only 63% of the entire black population is still available and if one splits this percentage amongst the remaining banks including Tyme Bank each bank has 5.7% of the black population to compete for. How much of the 9 million members of this church belong to other banks? What is the compelling reason that will lead these church members to remain loyal to their current banks rather than choosing Tyme Bank? Is this partnership going to create a knee jerk reaction in the other banks resulting in unplanned and non-customer centric innovations?

Disruptive strategies deployed by Tyme Bank:

Membership card that works like a debit card, extra smart shopper rewards on Pick n Pay purchases, zero-rated data for SmartApp and internet banking, customers are on-boarded at church members places of worship located across South Africa including major centres such as Soweto, Tshwane, Alexandra to small rural villages and at the large annual pilgrimages to Moria.

Few important factors to consider:

The result of such an innovative partnership requires change management, once every member/consumer is on board there is a requirement to help make the change stick across the entire organisation. Several large corporates including banks fail in keeping the change going. We are hoping that Tyme Bank has been successful in defining the disruption that was needed in the banking industry and in implementing the change. The South African consumer and competition will be watching to measure see how Tyme Bank will be managing this change in banking. In each of the stages of change, there has got to be a goal and the secret key to ensuring that the goals are achieved is by representing the customer’s gains and pains at every touchpoint of this journey. One cannot argue that Tyme Bank has evoked and responded well to the emotions of the church members through various user-centric strategies (who are the church members? what are their interests? how can they be better served?)

What does this mean for entrepreneurs and small business owners? Big companies also have competition but for a small business especially local ones the emergence of a competitor could mean loss of dozens of customers or more? Does your company have a CX strategy in place that is needed to help your business thrive? How certain are you that you’ve given your customers a reason to choose you rather than your competition? Are you viewing your customers as a collective rather than looking at their individual needs?

Written by: Mandisa Makubalo, Founder and MD of Unlimited Experiences SA (Pty) Ltd

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