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Co-Operative Bank of Kenya to launch CR2's e-purse solution

Dublin, 2nd November 2004 – CR2, a global provider of channel and Internet banking, ATM and card payment software solutions, have today announced that Co-Operative Bank of Kenya in Nairobi has selected CR2’s SmartBank product to offer an Electronic purse solution to its clients.

In addition Co-op Bank is the first bank in Kenya to licence CR2’s e-purse solution. This offering is one of the first products that will allow migration to Visa’s new OSI standard for E-Purse solutions and is expected to drive a strong second wave of investment in e-purse products with the promise of interoperability across bank’s ATM and point of sale networks.

SmartBank consists of a chip on a bank card which allows the customer to pre-load value onto their card at the ATM, branch or at a merchant POS device. This enables customers to purchase goods for “cash” by simply inserting the card into the point of sale. For higher value transactions, PIN validation may be requested. The bank can issue cards to both non account and account holders. And, when required, customers can obtain balance or statement information from their purse at a POS or ATM. The benefits to banks are that it greatly reduces fraud and theft, reduces cash handling costs and it is highly secure – even offline.

Co-operative Bank of Kenya is CR2’s first SmartBank customer in Kenya. The bank has been a CR2 customer since 1995 using CR2’s ATM solution to manage its ATM network. The implementation of the new system commences shortly with the aim of going live by early next year.

"The competition within the banking industry in Kenya is extremely high. We believe that providing our customers with lots of choice, using the latest technologies, will give us the edge and keep our customers happy", said Peter Munyiri, General Manager, Operations Division. "CR2 are a long standing partner of ours and their technology helps us achieve these goals."

"Smartcard or e-purse solutions are becoming extremely popular in Africa," said Cian Kinsella, CR2, CEO. "Because the communications infrastructure is still developing, offline technology is likely to prevail for some time. In fact, Smartcards have actually replaced paper tickets at 6 of Kenya’s national parks. The Co-Operative Bank of Kenya are very innovative in their approach by providing their customers with this facility."

The bank currently has over 30 ATMs in branches throughout the country. They will double this over the next 6 months as they add new machines and upgrade existing ATMs. The bank has also selected CR2’s Visa SMS Acquiring. This will enable them to acquire Visa cards at ATMs.

"The Co-Operative Bank of Kenya was one of the first banks in Kenya to launch ATMs," added Mr Kinsella. "As less than 2% of the population currently have ATM cards, there is huge potential for growth. Once again it shows how forward thinking the co-operative Bank is by doubling their existing number of ATMs."