Parkway Projects started in April 2004. At that time, payments was not what it is today. There were no debit cards, online or mobile banking platforms.
Today, we are actively driving financial inclusion, especially in the Northern part of Nigeria with our agency banking product- ReadyCash which boosts of 15,000 agents to its credit.
“We started just about the same time when a lot of these things were coming into play. The initial idea we had was to see how scratch cards could be used as a means of transmitting digital value. Coincidentally, that was the same time Interswitch also launched. We felt that would be a better way of achieving what we wanted to achieve. Hence, our first partnership was with Interswitch. We had to build a couple of products together from the beginning and then we went on to build our own products and services”, Emeka Onwuka, told TechEconomy.ng.
Continuing the conversation, he said, “Why our brand is not necessarily a retail brand is that we’ve been providing solutions to the banks, then the banks provide the solutions to their customers. So, we’ve been behind the banks.
“We did this for a long time up till 2016 where we now took some of these products directly to the other customers or sit beside the banks. However, in 2012, we got licensed as a mobile money operator which exposed us to the retail market.
“You know mobile money hasn’t scaled the way everybody expected it to scale but not surprising for us. We knew from the onset and we took a cautionary view of it. We know that our problems were not the same as Kenya’s.
People try to compare Nigeria and Kenya. But before we go into that, at what point do you think that it’s time to take this to another level?
“Our flagship product which has evolved to Bank3D was called BankCollect, and that was what we were delivering to the banks. The problem there was pretty simple. The banks had what you call the largest retail network. Their branches provided touchpoints for customers to go make payments. So the initial problem was cash payment. If you’re paying for goods and services, you will deposit in the bank, then the recipient will have to tie what the payment is made for and the statement.
“The banks were trying to solve the problem by building custom applications for different big collections. So what we did was to build a single platform where banks can easily onboard their customers and provide information about what payment was made for, who made the payment, and when the payment was made. In some cases, it integrates to the customers process application online real-time. So that’s what BankCollect was doing.
“The novel thing at the time was you don’t need to build separate custom applications for your different businesses, all of which was integrated into one platform. It was and still a major application in the financial services space.
“We didn’t have the sales team for years because the product was selling itself and moved from one bank to the other. As the bankers moved from one bank to the other, they move with the product. One of our largest customers is a huge regional bank with a presence in African countries-Ecobank.
“So then we started with this old process was called collections. Since we had the collection side, we also built the payment side. So you’ve collected money, and you also now want to make money. Again, this was a huge success. All of this was integrated into single platform payments.
“If you’re already on this platform, you’ll be making payments and may be able to do regional funds transfer, checking added account balances, and statement. It became an integrated Business Banking platform.
“The banks were pushing it out to their customers. Over time, we felt this shouldn’t just be behind the bars. We pushed it to the market directly so that small scale businesses can benefit from it and also sit beside the banks.
“We’ve been evolving since 2016 and adding a lot of other interesting things into the platform like the analytics, cash flow forecasting, liquidity management, which is doing is doing pretty well.
At what point did you rebrand to Bank3D?
This was in 2016.
So what were the features you added?
“We added payments, collections, pension remittance and liquidity management. Liquidity management can help manage 20 accounts and pay salaries from one of them. If my salary obligation every month is N10 billion, I can configure my account to pay N10million monthly. This should have been done by your accountant daily but we automate all of that and pull the money. Or you have different collection accounts in different banks and you want to sweep the funds into a single account, the liquidity management also does that.
“Then, we have some analytics to help forecast your cash flow, looking at your history and letting you know when there’s a possible drip based on your history. You can plan for it and let you know when you have access, thereby making informed decisions on investing the access you possibly have based on your history.
If Remita is to TSA, so what’s Bank 3D? Can you look into the pension management? For individuals, you can use it to manage corporate but at the Federal level, you still have issues of verification, payment of pensioners, collection of pensions, can we say that Bank 3D is that platform we can use to correct these anomalies?
“It is 110 per cent. We just launched the pension payments late last month to show you how much of a problem it is. We just sent an email to the customers on the platform and before we made the announcement, they’ve started uploading pensions.
“So we’ve done some work there. We also want to see how we can better collaborate with PENCOM to make this a platform for pension contributions. So pension is also available on the platform.
“If Remita is to TSA, we want to be to SMEs, not just the government but that platform to every business. We’ve been in the corporate space, the banking space, with 15/16 years of experience, managing cooperates and business banking processes. So that’s the wealth of experience”.
To be continued…