Not too long ago, we interviewed bancon’s Loans Team who have been working on SAP CML and SAP Fioneer S/4HANA Loans Management implementations for some of the biggest banks in the world. Since then, the team has continued to grow and expand its client roster.

We sat down with Njabulo Modlana, Robin Moyanga, and Vinod Chanar – the newest additions to bancon’s loans team, to find out more about their roles within bancon.

Thank you for your time today, everyone. Tell me about the team…

Vinod: I sat down and I wanted to try and sum up the team. So, with not too many words - ‘magic’. Magic for me, is:

  • M for motivation. We’re a motivated team and a driven team who want to succeed and we are always enthusiastic. We’re extremely passionate about the work that we do and this often motivates us, and it always leads to a higher level of productivity and achievement, and it rubs off to each other. 
  • A for active. An active team that’s constantly moving, taking initiative and leading the charge. We’re very energetic and driven and always ready for new challenges. 
  • G for goal-orientated. We’re all working towards our own goals but at bancon, our biggest goal is making sure we’re helping our clients to meet their objectives within budget and on time.
  • I for Innovative. We’re very creative in improving our solutions for our clients and I think that’s a real advantage point for us, just speaking freely to our clients and understanding their needs. We work with them to achieve the common goal, working collaboratively and avoiding silos.
  • C for committed. As an organisation, we are committed and dedicated to the goals we set. You can ask any of our developers or any of our team members when you’re stuck, and need help and you know you’re not going to get the cold shoulder. 

Everyone on the team tries as much as they can to help you, and this runs right through the DNA of our organisation.

Njabulo: I think Vinod has summed up everything about our team brilliantly. We’re very motivated, very skilled and very structured. We’re much more like a family than a team.

From starting at bancon as an intern, I started working with highly professional people, and you anticipate what the work will be like and how you’ll be welcomed to the team. Working with brilliant people can be very motivating to yourself as well. Above all we have fun doing what we do.

Robin: The bancon team has a wealth of experience and has implemented SAP CML and S4HANA Loans Management systems for quite some time. From my point of view, also as a new joiner to the bancon family, you know having that wide pool of experience and talent available at your fingertips is invaluable. You know especially to someone that’s starting up in this in the field of SAP 4HANA and loans management.

It’s important to have those resources available to you and not to hole up in silos. The bancon history in terms of implementation speaks for itself. I mean they’ve worked with some of the biggest banks in the world and the team has a proven track record of delivering successful projects on time and within budget. It’s a fantastic team to be a part of.

So, what projects have you worked on collectively?

Vinod: There are multiple projects on the go which I’m currently involved in, from implementation to providing support. I’m doing this for several clients including blue chip banks that are based in Africa and South Africa, multiple agricultural financial services institutes in South Africa, as well as the development banks, too. We seldom get a chance to reflect. And only when you ask these questions, then you stop and pause to realise what an impact your role, plays on the bigger parts of the world and it’s awesome. 

Robin: From a project point of view, I’m still quite new to bancon so I haven’t yet had an opportunity to work on too many different implementation projects. However, I am currently working alongside some of my colleagues in one of the biggest retail conglomerates in the country. On the CML’s implementations, it’s quite an eye-opening experience. You know, because this is my first real dabble into the retail space. Before this, I did have CML banking implementation experience, thought it entailed a different use case to what I’m currently looking at. 

Moving forward, I’m about to join a new banking project as well - we will be starting in early December so I’m looking forward to that.

Njabulo: All of them! I say this jokingly because I think I’ve had the opportunity to work with almost everyone on the team, including Robin and Vinod. I think it’s helped me to see a different side of how I can handle work, and how I can push my boundaries as a person and as an employee. It’s been great to get involved with so many different projects.

So why did you decide to specialise in SAP Loans?

Vinod: My background is banking and finance so I can relate to some of the challenges and issues the users experience in this area. Therefore, I wanted to be part of making it better. Contributing and assisting my clients in this area fills me with a lot of joy knowing that I have made a difference to them. It’s not only an industry I’ve worked in, but one I’m very, very passionate about. 

Back when I was an SAP user, we were running into some problems with our system, and we just couldn’t get it working. I mean, we spent days trying to sort it out and I wasn’t an SAP consultant at the time. This one Friday night I was sitting with the consultant I was working alongside, and he saw a person coming towards us, he told me he was the ‘Superhero of SAP’. He walks by and we tell him our issue, and he sat at the desk for less than 20 minutes and it was done and dusted – he’d resolved or issue that quickly. When he left, I looked at my colleague, my jaw dropped and I said, “Wow, I want to be like that guy.”

To a certain extent, that moment influenced me and ever since then, I want my clients to feel the same way I did that day. I want them to be left with that impression every time they work with me.

Njabulo: For me, it was the complexity that comes with the work. When I was first introduced to SAP, I realised at that moment that not every day is the same. Each day you get presented with new challenges and different clients which was really exciting for me. 

Robin: When I found out that set SAP Loans Management CML is such a niche and not so readily available skill, I latched on to that because I like knowing things that others don’t necessarily know too much about. You know, I like challenging myself by being the niche expert, so to speak, in whatever field that I am involved with and in this case now with SAP. 

It drew me in quite quickly being such a transformative and powerful lending tool available. In terms of what is possible and what isn’t possible for SAP implementation, in a lending space from a CML point of view, is infinite. It’s an extremely flexible lending platform, it’s malleable to all sorts of different use cases in the lending space and I think that’s pretty awesome.

SAP Fioneer Loans Management is a big focus for the team and more broadly bancon. So, what are the key benefits of SAP Fioneer S4HANA Loans Management?

Robin: SAP Fioneer S4HANA Loans Management is a next-generation lending platform, and it offers several benefits. One of them being increased flexibility and scalability. Another benefit is improved risk management, especially from an auditing point of view. It also offers quite an enhanced customer experience over its competitors and is also a cost-effective platform. 

Njabulo:  Robin’s right. One of the additional benefits is that it supports an end-to-end loan cycle. With S4HANA Loans Management you can initiate a loan from start to end as well as the ongoing maintenance. I think that’s one of the biggest advantages - you can do everything you need to in just one platform.

Vinod:   The key benefit and main reason why S4HANA Loans Management has been so successful is the fact it caters for all lending types. It really is the only lending platform that can be truly enterprise – housing a variety of products spanning multiple business units on a single instance. The difference this makes to the TCO allows our clients to invest these savings in being more competitive and more innovative. Coupled with the fact that it is front-end agnostic, the platform is incredibly flexible and is proven to support a vast amount of lending types including Agricultural, Development, Retail, Commercial and micro-finance.

As a team that is collaborating with many lenders, for those of your clients running SAP Fioneer S4HANA Loans management, what are their key focuses for 2024?

Robin: I would say that many of our client’s main focus for 2024 is automation. Especially for customer experience in the retail sector, they deal with large volumes of lending requests every single day. For them, they will be spending the upcoming year to streamline and automate that process and make it as easy and painless for the end user as possible and we’ll be helping them to achieve that. Cost to serve is incredibly important to allow retail lenders to invest more on their infrastructure and keep rates competitive and automation is a key component of that.

Njabulo: We spoke to a client who said they want to gain a competitive advantage in the market, but they also want to know that when they’re competing with other banks within their market, they’re number one. Also, as Robin said, innovation and automation- we live in a digital world, banks need to make sure they are serving their customers in the most user-friendly and accessible ways.

Vinod: I couldn’t agree with you both more. Each client of course has its roadmaps that we cannot divulge, but speaking generally, I agree 100% with both my colleagues. Another common theme we’re seeing is how our customers are looking to ‘‘sweat their assets’’ and they are doing this by consolidating various lending platforms onto S4HANA Loans Management.  Through this consolidation, our clients can decommission aging platforms, reduce TCO and invest more on that single platform.  S4HANA Loans Management is the perfect enterprise platform due to its flexibility and scalability.

Next question, what are some common misconceptions when it comes to implementing SAP Fioneer Loans Management?

Robin: That S4HANA solutions can be costly to maintain which for all types of lenders, especially specialist lenders within the development or agricultural space, can be off-putting. Though this is a myth and the complete opposite can be said. Its compact architect and low TCO makes it an affordable and perfect solution for institutions of all sizes and budgets. Especially when you consider that a single instance of S4HANA Loans Management can support multiple lending products across varying business units – plus it comes pre-integrated with nearly all other solutions such as the S4HANA General Ledger.

What makes bancon such a good place to work? And what initially drew you to working for the organisation?

Vinod: I would say people. People run to the very DNA core of the organisation. I felt it from the very first interaction with bancon, it’s an organisation that cares. They are a fair organisation, that is always willing to listen and to understand you as an individual. To me, bancon has always made sure that I’m not just another number. As individuals we all are different, and we all have different needs which is looked at in that respect. 

I think one of the great dynamics of bancon is that, although everyone’s based around the world, you never feel as if you are alone. We are based globally but support is always readily available.

Having that type of culture and unity, there are no limits. I don’t want to say “the sky’s the limit” because it’s reachable. So, I’d say there’s no limit to what we can accomplish together

Njabulo: I think for me it was because bancon was people-centric. From a personal experience, I think when you start getting to the working or corporate environment as a junior or someone coming fresh from university, your priorities are different to when you’ve spent more time within the working world. For me, working for a people-centric organisation was important. As Vinod said, at bancon, you’re looked at as an individual and not just part of the organisation. 

Also it’s comforting knowing that you are surrounded by such a strong team that has a vast amount of experience.  As someone like me who is relatively new in my career, its great to know I have those type of people to learn from.  It also helps that they are uber willing to share that knowledge.

Robin: bancon is a great place to work, because of its commitment to its employees as Njabulo and Vinod have mentioned it. We are not numbers on a spreadsheet. We are people and bancon very much walks the walk in that respect in treating us as people. 

You know further on from that point, which has already been mentioned quite a lot, the business is focused on innovation and its culture of collaboration. We live in a digital world that is not so structured and formalised as the old world, so to speak.

I can collaborate with team members in India, team members in the UK, in Canada and many more places. It builds this camaraderie, this global camaraderie that I have not felt or experienced before bancon. It helps that it’s also the leading SAP implementations organisation. From those perspectives, bancon is a great place to work.

What can a client expect when working with bancon on their next loan transformation project?

Robin: So when working with bancon, I think one of the things that you can expect is a very experienced and dedicated team of consultants. Additionally, to that you could say that proven methodology for delivering successful projects, with the experience to evidence that as well.  Those are the non-negotiables from a bancon point of view. 

Njabulo: I think you’ll get happy faces and deliver, that’s what we can promise you for sure. It’s proven that you’ll get proper professional services delivered to you on time. Clients can be assured that they’re in the right hands. 

Vinod: I couldn’t agree more. We want to partner with our clients, working shoulder to shoulder in tackling the challenges faced. The proven track record of bancon speaks for itself and as I said earlier in this interview, it’s magic. 

What’s next for the bancon loans team?

Vinod:  I like that! Getting bigger and better. But in saying that I’d like to also add that while we do that, we also stay true to our main goal and that’s always being client-focused. For us, the client needs to be happy and that’s at the core of our DNA at bancon. We want to be the best that we can be and encourage the employees within the organisation, not just the loans team, to be the best that they can be, too. 

Njabulo: In my perspective, it’s growing in my role and within the team bringing in more clients and exposing bancon to the world. An overall goal for bancon, not just the loans team, is that we want to expand and grow our client base.

Robin: I think to add to what Njabulo said, I think developing new and innovative solutions and helping our clients realise greater opportunities that are available with SAP. Encouraging them to adopt S4HANA or migrate from current solutions to S4HANA. I would say that they’re the plans on the horizon for bancon and our clients in the future.