The decision by SeFia and Soficam, two Mexican lenders, to install and run T24, the core banking software from Temenos on Azure, Microsoft's flexible, enterprise-grade cloud computing platform, represents an important move in a key, fast-growing market to embrace secure, cloud-based banking services.
Temenos and Microsoft have a solid track-record in bank-cloud collaboration. The two companies were the first to put core banking in the cloud, and together they have been offering scalable, cost-effective cloud banking packages for almost five years, including next generation biometric identification systems.
There's much to play for in the Mexican market, which may, alongside others, form a core growth engine for tomorrow's banking sector. Driven by an expanding middle class, urbanisation and a young demographic, the country is currently demonstrating demand for banking convenience and efficiency.
The Temenos-Microsoft collaboration in Mexico builds on shared experiences in other fast-growing economies such as Nigeria, Kenya and Myanmar, where a number of credit institutions are starting to embrace omni-present banking. Importantly, the two Mexican financial institutions will now be able to offer access to affordable banking services for previously underserved communities and across a variety of channels.
Both organisations are confident that they are now on a high growth track and will be able to operate profitably with lower overheads. Efficiency gains will flow from removing the need to build or license costly technology platforms in-house.
At the same time, the Mexican regulator, the CNBV, has set exacting compliance standards for institutions to work with cloud services. And the security, integrity and robustness of the Temenos-Microsoft combination provide comfort to supervisors and clients alike.
Ernesto Neve, solutions director for financial services at Microsoft, stressed that the deal would allow the strongest possible compliance reporting through the cloud. "Our security, privacy and integrity model enables financial institutions to feel confident when moving to our Azure platform," he said.
Enrique O'Reilly, Regional Director of Latin America at Temenos, said this collaboration would speed products to market for the local banks, allowing their clients to "operate profitability at much lower levels of scale and to immerse themselves in the world of agile banking technology".
SeFia will adapt the platform to work around its own niches - financing the purchase of machinery and equipment in the agricultural sector - which will help farmers, cattle ranchers and builders to obtain loans to expand their businesses.
SeFia's COO, Luis Fernando Rosado, described T24 in the cloud as a "comprehensive solution for our loan portfolio administration", and added: "The software is quick and easy to use and the information it provides is of high quality."
Soficam, meanwhile, will use T24 to bolster its core business offering of loans to small producers in the agricultural and fishing industries. The company was established in 2008 and offers credit to small producers in those sectors; it works closely with the Confederacion Nacional Campesina, an organisation formed by 2.5 million affiliates classified in 17 agricultural productive branches across Mexico.
"Accessing T24 in the cloud allows us to deliver financial services to our clients without the complexity and expense of in-house IT systems," Soficam's CIO, Alejandro Hatchett Cruz, said.
Whether in developed or developing markets, banks today need to make important technology decisions - decisions that will allow them to maximise profitability and invest in customer loyalty by offering smarter, more relevant and more affordable products. Otherwise they risk leaving other players to pick up market share.
In Mexico, the ability to customise T24 to create a core banking system based on the local market was of key importance to SeFia and Soficam, which will offer tailored savings and loans solutions for the rural market.
The two banks focus on the agricultural sector but in future they will be able to expand, if desired, into new sectors, services and channels with the same core system.