Which lucrative banking activities could fintech applications reinvent? This was the question pondered by former FNB head of retail Yatin Narsai, together with former FNB CEO Michael Jordaan. They discussed it in several debates and short papers, and over wine. "There were many opportunities, and as we unpacked each in more detail we ‘synchronised’ on this idea," says Narsai. "It was very special, as we knew this meeting of the minds had tremendous gravitas." The result was the latest banking venture to be granted a provisional licence: Bank Zero, an app-driven bank that will launch later this year. Narsai has in the past arguably tackled the hard stuff, steering FNB’s retail banking unit and home loans business through the slowdown following the 2008 financial crisis and overhauling FNB’s outdated information technology systems. He says obtaining the banking licence was the hardest thing he has ever done. "It was the equivalent of doing two PhDs at once," he says. "The top three ch...

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