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Financial transactions in Africa - reducing risk, cost, complexity

25 September 2008 Bankserv

Business in Africa boosted by new support for banking and financial transactions

Insurance companies doing business in Africa and the Middle East can now effect safer, simpler and less costly financial transactions through Bankserv’s Swift Bureau services available in South Africa, COMESA (Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa) and beyond.

Automated Clearing House BANKSERV has confirmed the acquisition of FIN-X, a company providing SWIFT Bureau services and OFAC security filtering to commercial banks and financial institutions throughout Africa and the Middle East, reducing risk, cost and complexity in financial transactions.

“The acquisition complements a key component of BANKSERV’s strategy, which is providing banking clients with the highest quality of transaction, switching and value-added services in support of their business objectives while effecting significant cost savings and reducing risk and complexity in the industry,” says Pieter Cilliers, BANKSERV CEO.

“FIN-X’s penetration of the African market and its proven expertise in the marketing of the SWIFT Service Bureau make it an ideal acquisition for BANKSERV,” he said.

“We believe that the combination of FIN-X's successful service bureau and BANKSERV’s trusted experience in the African marketplace creates tremendous potential for expansion,” he continued.

FIN-X brings to BANKSERV’s network 54 commercial banks and financial institutions in 24 countries across Africa and the Middle East.

“The resources of BANKSERV will bring major new opportunities to FIN-X and our clients in Africa - and beyond - enhancing the successful service model which we have built up over the past decade,” says Willie Stoman of FIN-X.

The FIN-X Service Bureau operates the connection to SWIFTNet and the SWIFT interface on behalf of the institutions. Fully approved by SWIFT Brussels, the Bureau currently provides access to the SWIFT Network at a significantly reduced cost. The OFAC filtering solutions facilitate the fight against money-laundering and terrorist financing, and enforce economic sanctions at a time when most governments are reinforcing their regulations in illegal trafficking. Thus general message screening compliance and customer monitoring have become major concerns for financial institutions.

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The Service Bureau works in close association with COMESA (Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa) Clearing House to enable banks to become SWIFT Ready as countries implement their RTGS (Real-time Gross Settlement) systems. FIN-X has been selected to be the COMESA Regional Operational centre to operate and host the COMESA Regional Payment and Settlement System (REPSS), which will connect 20 Central Banks into the COMESA Clearing House through the FIN-X Service Bureau. This electronic platform will bring multiple benefits to the region.

Since 1972, through its ACB and SASWITCH brands, BANKSERV has provided interbank electronic transaction switching and settlement services to the South African banking sector and to banks in Africa, supplying quality transactions in a properly regulated system, compliant with international banking best practice and standards, whilst reducing risk and complexity in the industry.

BANKSERV processes two billion transactions per annum with a value of USD $ 1 Trillion. BANKSERV offers a number of innovative products. They include the Mzansi Money Transfer product which enables the transfer of funds between two parties without their needing to have bank accounts, and the Early Debit Order Micro-Lending Collections facility (EDO) which allows Micro Lenders to collect from and authenticate customers, thereby preventing fraud.

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