Mauritius Commercial Bank: Backing SMEs

The biggest commercial bank on the Indian Ocean island, Mauritius Commercial Bank (MCB) sought the help of Backbase to develop a single digital platform for its small and medium sized enterprise (SME) customers


The bank had a strong presence within the SME market but its digital offering was largely in its infancy and there was no app. Most customers remained dependent on branch services for depositing cash, checking payments and collecting loan statements, yet branches were largely focused on the retail and corporate segments. 

Dominic Provençal, MCB’s Head of Business Banking, said: “SME banking has traditionally been overlooked, but there is a significant opportunity to change how small businesses do banking by properly addressing their needs… We wanted to provide our SME customers with convenient mobile banking solutions to satisfy their banking needs.” 

The resulting SME banking app, JuicePro, provides a full range of services, including transaction history, payments, transfers, OTP authentication and account management. 

Working closely with Backbase, MCB was able to build and release a minimum viable product (MVP) version of the app in just six months, with the final product released just five month later. Backbase’s out-of-the-box widgets powered about 80% of the development process, improving internal operations and boosting overall commercial effectiveness.

MCB opted to build a single platform across all business units that could easily be scaled across different customer segments at a later stage. The retail app was quickly rolled out and now has a user base of more than half a million people – more than half the adult population of the island. The same platform combines instant accelerators with minimum configuration and is used for mobile, internet, in-branch and self-service kiosk use. It now takes just two to three months to develop and release new features on the app. 

App registration takes less than five minutes in four easy steps, with customers entering their card details and an OTP, accepting terms and conditions, and creating a password. Shortly after its launch, 85% of MCB’s customers actively used the app, signing in on average 14 times a month. Powered by Backbase Identity, biometric security, such as face and fingerprint identification, ensures security. 

Emmanuel Courtaud, Product Owner, MCB, commented: “Collaborating with Backbase has been an enriching journey which has improved the daily operations of our staff through simplified processes. Backbase enabled a new way of working between the teams, helped to deliver seamless digital experiences to our customers and above all, acted as an accelerator into our digital transformation intentions.”

Both the SME and retail Juice apps are being rolled out across the other MCB affiliates in the other Indian Ocean countries where it is active. The bank is also developing a wealth app targeted at their private clients: an MVP version has already been tested with a select group of customers. Work began on developing the corporate web based product in 2021 and it too has been tested with select customers. Feature development is continuing, including trade finance capabilities that are being co-constructed with Backbase. 

Backbase CEO Jouk Pleiter commented: “It’s fantastic to see such an effective partnership emerging between us. Our unique platform has allowed MCB to quickly build and launch their SME banking app in a relative short time frame… the flexible nature of the platform allows them to drive continuous product innovation to respond to emerging customer needs and pressures from competitors and regulators alike.” 

African Banker