Stephen Cranston Associate editor

Bank Zero might sound like a soft drink especially designed to avoid the new sugar tax. But it is SA’s new electronic branch-free bank, following the Commonwealth Bank of Australia’s TymeDigital and ahead of Discovery Bank. It is the latest fintech initiative from former FNB CEO Michael Jordaan (who will be chairman) and Yatin Narsai, the former head of FNB Retail (who will be CEO). Jordaan left FNB in 2013 and Narsai in 2014, and they remained close. "We debated what Banking 2.0 would look like," says Jordaan, "meaning a bank enabled by new technology and unencumbered by historic costs and legacy revenue streams." Jordaan and Narsai often sound like philosophers of banking. Narsai says he has been fascinated by the number zero since he read The Man Who Knew Infinity — later a successful film — about brilliant Indian mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan. Jordaan has always had a whiff of the late Steve Jobs about him, looking into the future through a crystal ball. Bank Zero has a prov...

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