IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is investing €10 million in SAB, a leading developer of banking software, to bolster financial system infrastructures in the Middle East, Africa and Asia.
IFC’s equity investment will support SAB, which is headquartered in France, to expand its international business by reaching local financial institutions through its long-time subsidiaries in these regions. SAB's modern, integrated core banking software – which handles all aspects of a bank's daily business – is expected to help financial institutions in these markets accommodate changing business needs and support modern banking requirements, including customer centricity, real-time processing capabilities and relationship banking.
"In recent years, the increasing complexity of the financial services industry has put pressure on banks to improve their transparency and risk management," said Olivier Peccoux, CEO of SAB. "By using modern core banking software, financial institutions will manage to meet regulatory requirements, while also improving their performance."
Andi Dervishi, Global Head of IFC’s Financial Technology Investments, said “A modern, flexible and adaptable core banking system will be central to banks’ innovation process. Our investment in SAB will help financial institutions in local markets enhance their efficiency and develop a wider range of financial products, thus providing better services and reaching out to more customers”.
The focus of SAB's expansion in emerging markets, which will start in their operational centers in Lebanon and Tunisia, will contribute to employment generation and, ultimately, economic growth in the target regions.
The investment is part of IFC’s strategy in emerging markets, which focuses on improving financial services as well as supporting innovative sectors such as information and communications technologies. IFC has one of the largest and most diverse financial technology portfolios in developing countries, with over $150 million invested in 16 companies as of the end of 2014.
SAB’s banking software is currently used by about 200 financial institutions in 25 countries, including Axa Banque, Banque Nationale de Développement Agricole in Mali, Banque Palatine Caisse des Dépôts, Compte Nickel, and Fransabank.