Access Interview: Marcus Hannappel, Senior Digital Finance Expert at AccessHolding and Manager of eTumba

Published by Aixa Alabi on

By Ivana Mitrovic

Marcus Hannappel is Senior Digital Finance Expert at AccessHolding and manages AB Bank Zambia’s mobile wallet eTumba. In addition, he is member of the Board of Directors of AB Microfinance Bank Nigeria since 2011. After joining AccessHolding in 2007, Marcus worked as Credit Advisor and Branch Manager in AccèsBanque Madagascar and as Chief Credit Officer / Deputy CEO in AB Microfinance Bank Nigeria. He also served on the Board of Directors of AccessBank Liberia for three years.

With the introduction of eTumba, AB Bank has reached a significant milestone in providing digital financial services and promoting financial inclusion in Zambia.

AB Bank Zambia launched its own mobile wallet eTumba in May this year. What has been the experience so far?

The adoption of eTumba in the Zambian market and the feedback we are getting is very encouraging. Even without having conducted any significant marketing activities we have seen a substantial number of new registrations on a daily basis. Interestingly, customers are subscribing from all over Zambia, even from regions in which AB Bank has no branches or outlets. Important in this context is the self-on boarding function, by which customers can open an eTumba account in less than a minute, as well as the cooperation with the largest POS agent network in Zambia –  Kazang –  through which cash deposits and withdrawals can be made countrywide.

What is a mobile wallet and why did AccessHolding support its introduction in the first place?

A mobile wallet – typically accessed through a mobile phone –  is a channel through which financial products and services are availed to customers, often with a focus on transfers and payments. Through a combination of a simple registration process with light formal requirements and easy access via a mobile phone, mobile wallets can increase outreach to unbanked and financially under-served individuals. Providing access to financial services to people outside the formal banking sector is part of AccessHolding’s mission, and the subscription to our mobile wallet can be the first step towards a more formal banking relationship.

What does the launch of eTumba mean for AB Bank Zambia?

With the introduction of eTumba, AB Bank has reached a significant milestone in providing digital financial services and promoting financial inclusion in Zambia. Anyone in Zambia can now open an eTumba account within a minute and transact from anywhere at any time. At AB Bank we see eTumba as a platform through which we can extend more products and services to a wider audience as compared to the traditional branch network.

What are the most important learnings from the project?

Finding the right partners, defining clearly the scope of the project, strong strategic alignment among management and Board of Directors and a conducive market and regulatory environment are key success factors. The implementation of a digital solution such as a mobile wallet requires a considerable level of institutional readiness, as not only strong IT capabilities are required, but also other building blocks ranging from a well-established call centre to a detailed reconciliation function are needed. Ultimately, the shift from a rather traditional banking approach to a highly available digital financial product also requires a change of mind-set within the organization. 

What will be the next steps?

With eTumba up and running in AB Bank Zambia, we will continue to offer more attractive services and features to our customers. At the moment we are adding the possibility to pay bills – such as for electricity, water or TV – as well as airtime top-ups. We are also looking into virtual cards for e-commerce and contactless payments and dedicated digital savings and loan products. In view of the AccessGroup, we will showcase eTumba to other institutions in our network and discuss where to implement our mobile wallet next. 

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