BANK Zero, the app-driven bank that anticipates going live soon, faces the challenge of transitioning to banking operations while working from home.

Last week, chief executive and co-founder Yatin Narsai said it would be the the first to transact with a complete value proposition but without lending.

The former FNB head of IT and retail banking cofounded Bank Zero with Michael Jordaan in 2018. Jordaan chairs the bank.
Narsai said the bank struggled with Covid-19 but was increasing its customer and continued to take a cautious approach, given the severity of wave three in Gauteng.

“Our most important priority is staff safety and, therefore, (we) continue to operate from home. The situation is being monitored and our go-live plans remain unchanged.”

Bank Zero, is expected to disrupt the untransformed banking industry with its technology features and zero monthly fees.
Ït was granted a banking licence by the central bank and anticipated to launch in the fourth quarter of 2018. However, it had a slow start due the rigorous testing process and the Covid-19 pandemic.

Narsai said Bank Zero received its licence a year after Discovery Bank and Tyme, the two new entrants that are live today. “We were planning for an earlier live date in 2020, then the pandemic arrived.”

Narsai said Bank Zero continued with its closed customer roll-out for individuals and businesses

However, Sasfin Securities senior portfolio manager Nesan Nair said Bank Zero had its work cut out.

“It’s really becoming a crowded space for these transactional banks Bank Zero, Access, African Bank, Tyme, not to mention the various money transferring services offered by the likes of MTN and Vodacom like Mpesa. It’s hard to see where anyone’s competitive advantage is going to be.”

Narsai said Bank Zero’s capital and cost efficiencies remained a core strength, meaning the bank’s breakeven customer numbers were low and were well below a million customers.

“This does not mean we plan to keep customer volumes low. Our proposition is strong and we expect significant demand, especially in a digital only environment.”

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