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Leading South African investment holding company, African Rainbow Capital (ARC) which was founded by Dr Patrice Motsepe, announced today that TymeBank, in which it has a majority shareholding, has entered into a partnership with the Zion Christian Church (ZCC) to offer a banking proposition to its members.

The ZCC is the largest African-initiated church in Southern Africa, enjoying a membership of about 12 million churchgoers. Some nine million ZCC members are based in South Africa, approximately six million of whom are adults. About four million members make the annual pilgrimage to Moria in Limpopo every April.

At a special ceremony at Moria in Limpopo today, attended by the leadership of the ZCC, ARC and TymeBank, church elders were introduced to the partnership with TymeBank, which will see ZCC members being offered the opportunity to take up the compelling ZCM (Zion City Moria) Membership Card. This card will serve as both a membership card as well as the member’s bank card.

This ZCM Membership Card was the vision and initiative of His Grace, The Right Reverend Bishop, Dr B. E. Lekganyane who took up the first official ZCM Membership Card at the launch.

The ZCM Membership Card proposition will see ZCC members enjoy the following benefits:

  • ZCM Membership Card will be recognised as a ZCC membership card for its members as well as a debit card linked to a fully KYC (Know Your Customer) compliant bank account.
  • A five-minute paperless customer on-boarding process at ZCM branded portable kiosks in-community.
  • Best-in-market transactional banking fees and interest on savings balances with no withdrawal notice periods.
  • Extra Smart Shopper rewards (double points earned for purchases in Pick n Pay and points for all purchases outside Pick n Pay).
  • Zero-rated data for SmartApp and internet banking (no customer data used to access these channels).
  • Additional benefits include security access control.
  • The banking product will be supported by trained Zetnet-appointed agents using ZCM branded portable kiosks.

The first phase of the partnership is a pilot, which will see a smaller group of ZCC elders taken through TymeBank’s innovative kiosk-based on-boarding process, supported by newly recruited and trained Zetnet agents.

Zetnet Mobile is a mobile and digital services company, managed by Shafick Jardine and Trevor Theledi, which is owned by the church. The company drives the church’s digitisation mandate, distribution and mobile telephony products and services.

Within five minutes of initiating the FICA (Financial Intelligence Centre Act) process of opening a bank account, and without submitting any documentation, new customers will have a suite of banking services, including the EveryDay transactional account, GoalSave savings account, and a Visa debit card, bearing the ZCM brand and personalised with the ZCC member’s name.

Initially, ZCM card holders will be able to deposit and withdraw cash at any of the approximately 14 000 till points at Pick n Pay and Boxer stores nationally, as well as withdraw cash from any ATM.

TymeBank and Zetnet Mobile are currently working on ways to expand the cash-handling network beyond Pick n Pay and Boxer stores so that low-cost and accessible deposit and withdrawal services can be offered to card holders in the more remote communities across the country. This pilot phase is being conducted in preparation for on-boarding far larger groups of church members throughout the remainder of 2020 and beyond.

It is envisaged that the pilot phase will highlight key learnings for both the partnership between ZCM and TymeBank. These learnings will be used to improve TymeBank and Zetnet’s abilities to support the joint ZCM Membership Card, from on-boarding through to supporting and servicing the new customers, as well as ensuring Zetnet’s staff are adequately capacitated and supported.

The partners expect that large groups of church members will take up the proposition over the course of the year. Customers will be on-board at church members’ places of worship, which are located across South Africa. This include major centres such as Soweto, Tshwane and Alexandra to smaller rural villages and at the large annual pilgrimages to Moria..

Mr Edward Lekganyane, Head of the ZCM Membership Card Program for the ZCC, commented that the ZCC is proud to spearhead such a unique initiative with one of South Africa’s newest and most innovative banks, TymeBank.

“The ZCC has always taken the well-being of its members very seriously. Over the years we have enrolled our members, on a group basis, as clients of well-established businesses that offer their services to our church members. Encouraged by the success of these initiatives, the church leadership has for some time now expressed the need to partner with a bank that could offer our members cost-effective banking solutions.

“Offering a group-wide banking solution for our members through a financial institution that shares our values means we are able to help look after the financial well-being of our members. There are various benefits to the partnership with TymeBank, including the fact that the bank will come to our congregants, and customers will be supported by our own people.”

Agents or ambassadors have been instrumental to TymeBank’s success since its official launch in February 2019. TymeBank has successfully put a field force of over 1 500 ambassadors in place at its kiosks inside Pick n Pay and Boxer stores to assist customers to on-board with ease and to impart product knowledge to customers.

Ambassadors are traditionally young people who have not had formal employment previously. They have completed a period of training to develop the product and process knowledge, as well as customer service skills necessary to assist customers.

Dr Patrice Motsepe, Founder and Chairman of ARC, also attended the launch of the pilot phase at Moria and commented as follows:

“African Rainbow Capital (ARC) is a world class investment holding company that is committed to creating competitive returns for its shareholders and benefitting all its stakeholders. We are committed to creating jobs, providing skills and expertise and contributing to improving the living conditions and standards of living of poor, unemployed and marginalised South Africans.

“As the majority shareholder in TymeBank, ARC is very proud of its partnership with the ZCC to provide a competitive and low-cost banking product to the members of the ZCC. This partnership also makes me personally very proud as the ZCC is a church that I respect and love a lot. Hundreds of thousands of ZCC members will become part of the South African banking and financial services industry and this will enable them and their families to be part of and benefit from the South African economy.

“African Rainbow Capital (ARC) is entering its fifth year as a business and we are excited that in a relatively short period of time we have made a number of key investments to drive financial inclusion. For instance, in the life insurance industry we have partnered with Rand Mutual Assurance and African Rainbow Life; in healthcare we have partnered with Afrocentric; in pension fund administration we have partnered with Alexander Forbes and in banking we launched TymeBank.

“All of these investments, along with many others, challenge the status quo in terms of the often relatively high cost base that makes it very challenging and unaffordable for ordinary people to enrol for financial products or services. It is through participation in the formal economy that people are afforded the opportunities to improve their lives, the lives of their families and their communities.”

TymeBank was formally launched in February 2019 and by the end of November 2019 it had on-boarded one million customers. On average between 110 000 and 120 000 new customers join TymeBank each month.

Given the vast client pool of the ZCC membership base, TymeBank has made special infrastructural arrangements to on-board and service as many of the ZCC members as possible during 2020.

TymeBank CEO Tauriq Keraan commented as follows:

“This exciting partnership between TymeBank and the ZCC reaffirms the strength of our business model and technology, which allows us to scale quickly and at low cost by partnering with organisations that have strong existing relationships with customers. Our partnership with Pick n Pay and Boxer has allowed us to grow rapidly to over one million customers in nine months since launching and we are still acquiring over 110 000 customers per month through their stores.

“Our partnership with the ZCC will not only bring us a step change in customer acquisition growth but, importantly, will also result in high levels of account utilisation due to the strong affinity between the ZCC and its members.

“This partnership has been made possible by the common goal of financial inclusion between the partners, our next-generation mobile version of the kiosk, and our ability to leverage the distribution network of ZetNet.

“Most importantly, our banking proposition is one that resonates well with ZCC members. The convenience of on-boarding in community, the empowerment of simple and transparent products and the direct financial benefits of the low transactional fees, high savings rates and Smart Shopper rewards all contribute towards the financial well-being of the ZCC members.

“Today, we’ve launched the pilot phase at Moria and our intention is to learn as much from the processes on how we can further improve the customer experience and journey for our customers. As we opened the bank accounts for some three thousand clients today as part of the pilot phase, we got some good feedback in the process. We’ll take this to heart, and we will explore opportunities to improve further as we hone the model for scale later in the year. Customer feedback and the way we respond are critical to our ongoing success.”


Special note to the editor: Who is Zetnet Mobile?

Zetnet started in 2005 with ZOK Cellular, which successfully activated over 2 million numbers from 2006 to 2008.

Over 1,8 million ZOK numbers are still active to date, with higher than market average revenue per user (ARPU);

Zetnet Mobile was established in 2011 and secured a Distribution Contract with Vodacom, which resumed in 2011 but was officially launched 2012;

Over 2 million Zetnet-branded SIM cards were distributed within the ZCC environment from 2012 to 2016. The Distribution Contract with Vodacom was renewed on a non-exclusive basis in 2019.

The partnership is characterised by high retention numbers and low churn rate due to exceptional loyalty of ZCC members.
In addition to this partnership, Zetnet launched Paledi Mall Mobile Store to service the targeted base outside of the traditional ZCC environment, while featuring as an entry point for PostPaid services for the ZCC base. Paledi Mall Store has received various performance awards from Vodacom, while not operating at its optimal potential nor providing a full set of mobile services;

A strategy was developed to deploy 10 new stores nationally, while intending to roll out more stores in partnership with Networks. Zetnet has Trained over 5,000 ZCC youth members over the past years, who worked as Distribution, Sales & Activation Agents for Zetnet Mobile & most of whom have progressed into new opportunities.

A total of 6 vehicle 5-man-per-vehicle teams were established to drive branch distribution and activations. The aim is to over time establish 10 mobile distribution teams per region, to enable it to effectively drive activation activities throughout the ZCC’s extensive Church Branch Structures as well as distribution throughout the respective areas within the regions (i.e. 7 Regions throughout all 9 provinces);

The teams are present at all of the Church’s major Gatherings, Events, Structures and Outings. Zetnet to drive the ZCM Membership/Transactional Card Program and is developing its RICA/FICA/Membership/M-VAS platform, which will be integral to all future activation processes.

Special note to the editor: Who is TymeBank?

TymeBank is currently one of the world’s fastest-growing digital banks as it on-boards between 110 000 and 120 000 clients per month.

The bank is designed to meet the needs of underserved and under serviced South African banking customers. The bank’s vision is to create a platform that stimulates economic participation and facilitates broader financial inclusion. TymeBank is majority owned by African Rainbow Capital (ARC) which was founded by Dr Patrice Motsepe, making it South Africa’s first majority black-owned bank.

TymeBank has formed a long-term strategic partnership with Pick n Pay and Boxer stores, allowing its customers to bank where they shop, at Pick n Pay and Boxer stores around the country. Once it completes its roll-out, the partnership will give TymeBank approximately 800 points of presence where customers can open accounts, and over 14 000 till points across 1 500 stores where customers can withdraw and deposit money.

The TymeBank EveryDay transactional account is quick and easy to open. Customers can open a fully FICA-compliant bank account and receive their personalised Visa debit card at a TymeBank kiosk in under five minutes, or they can open an account with limited functionality on the TymeBank website.

No documents are required to open an account – customers just need their South African ID number and cellphone. The FICA (Financial Intelligence Centre Act) process is completed through the capture and verification of biometric and other data at the kiosk. Once the kiosk issues customers with their Visa debit card, they can transact straight away.

When signing up, customers can automatically join the Pick n Pay Smart Shopper programme and get all the benefits of one of the largest rewards programmes in the country. In a South African first, TymeBank customers earn Smart Shopper points everywhere they use their debit card, not just in Pick n Pay stores.

The TymeBank account comes with a unique savings tool called GoalSave. It attracts no fees or penalties and is simple to use. Customers can create up to 10 savings goals, name them, and earn as much as 10% interest per annum.


Special note to the editor: Who is African Rainbow Capital?

African Rainbow Capital (ARC) is a black-owned and controlled investment holding company which focusses on the South African and African financial services industry and businesses that deliver exceptional returns on equity.

ARC is 100% owned by Ubuntu-Botho Investments which was founded by Dr Patrice Motsepe in 2004, with the objective of building a world class financial services company. Ubuntu-Botho Investments became Sanlam’s anchor empowerment partner. In addition, another important objective of Ubuntu-Botho Investments, since its formation, was to contribute to the improvement of the living conditions and standards of living of poor, unemployed and marginalised South Africans.

The first phase of realising this vision was the accumulation of capital in partnership with Sanlam. This objective has largely been achieved, with Ubuntu-Botho Investments holding about 18% of Sanlam’s issued shares and being valued at about R23 billion at present.

The second phase entailed partially investing this capital in African Rainbow Capital, which has become a leading South African-based, black-owned and controlled investment holding company.

ARC’s objective is to be a leading provider of financial services, covering the full spectrum of financial service needs, such as life insurance, healthcare, asset management, general financial services, short-term insurance, property and banking. We do this by building strategic partnerships, both in South Africa and further afield, by obtaining equity stakes in product providers. Astute capital management is used to create the best possible return on equity. In this way, we create value for our stakeholders.

ARC makes a difference on a much broader front by supporting deserving communities and causes through wide-ranging social and corporate investment initiatives. We uplift previously disadvantaged individuals and assist them to achieve financial independence. We also support diverse groups such as trade unions, churches, traditional leaders, women and the youth through Ubuntu-Botho Investments, which is Sanlam’s anchor empowerment partner and which owns ARC.
The values that form the foundation of everything we do are respect, integrity, accountability and excellence.

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