Re-structuring for Better Services


Interswitch Transnational Holdings restructures its operations by spinning off two of its core divisions and making autonomous business groups

|  By Maureen Chigbo   |  Jun. 24, 2103 @ 01:00 GMT

INTERSWITCH Transnational Holdings, a pan-African integrated payment processing and transaction switching company, June 10, announced the spin-off, of two of its core divisions. The divisions – Verve International (“Verve”) and Switching and Processing, are now separate, autonomous businesses. The rationale for the separation is driven by Interswitch’s strategy to orchestrate for the next stage of sustainable growth by empowering the various line businesses to broaden and deepen their solution and service offerings to better serve their customers across Africa. The separation will enable Verve to leverage, to the maximum extent, its recent strategic alliance with ‘Discover’ network, providing new business opportunities in more than 185 countries around the world.

The separation will also enable Interswitch Switching and Processing to take its card-agnostic pureplay switching services and  third party transaction processing (Mastercard, Visa, Union Pay, Verve) capabilities across the region. This will make Interswitch’s corporate structure conform with the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, guidelines for the Payment Systems Vision 2020. Verve International and Interswitch Switching and Processing have separate management teams. Verve International will be led by Charles Ifedi while Akeem Lawal will head Interswitch Switching and Processing.

Charles Ifedi

Commenting on the spin-off, Mitchell Elegbe, group managing director and chief executive officer of Interswitch Transnational Holdings, said: “It has always been our desire to evolve into an integrated payments holding business where the various parts of the business are driven to deepen and broaden their relationships with their various customers by creating innovative products and services of real value.  Creating the right governance structure to herald this new phase of sustainable growth has been the focus of the board and management in the last few months. I am elated that we have successfully completed this separation, which took effect from April 1, 2013.”

The transaction forms part of Interswitch’s planned strategy to separate its core divisions, allowing each division focus on its core competencies and best facilitate regional and international expansion, with a clear mandate to provide the ”best services at the lowest cost”. The separation will result in no disruption to services enjoyed by the business’s clients. The two companies will further strengthen the existing teams by identifying and attracting key talents from across the continent that will focus on delivering the best services.

Transaction Switching and Processing which was the core switching and processing platform of Interswitch and has, over a decade, offered issuers, acquirers, card schemes and networks with an array of services which include but are not limited to: transaction switching, payment processing, and settlement reporting services. The company will continue to provide these services with a focus on multiple markets, while also enhancing customer experience with product innovation and extensions at the least costs.

The switch is connected to all 20 banks in Nigeria including seven microfinance institutions and 16 Mobile Money operators. In addition, the switch processes local and international transactions originating from payment cards such as UnionPay of China, MasterCard, VISA and Discover Financial Services (Discover and Diners Club).

Verve offers issuers, cardholders and organisations with payment card products and solutions in Nigeria and it’s pan-African chip + PIN payment card, is the first chip card accepted across all payment channels in Nigeria. Verve has more than 20 million cards in circulation and access to over 119,631 points of sale, POS, 11,287 ATMs and more than 1,000 online merchants. Verve has been developed with unique value added services available to cardholders in Nigeria, including loyalty and Reward Money at specific merchant locations.

Akeem Lawal

Following the  announcement, Verve will drive the payment card business internationally with a focus on ‘issuing’ and ‘acquiring’ while also driving awareness of the Verve brand. The separation will also enable Verve to leverage, to the maximum extent, its recent strategic alliance with the ‘Discover’ network. The alliance will enable the acceptance of Verve cards on Discover and Diners Club International Network of ATMs and POS in over 185 countries around the world for international purchases and cash access. Driving these unique offers across the region will be a major strategic focus for Verve International’s, post-separation.

Lawal has more than 15 years’ experience in electronic payments processing, payment cards business, implementation and management of projects in the financial services sector and ICT. He is a fellow of Archbishop Tutu African Leadership Institute for Young African leaders. Ifedi was a member of the project team that developed the business plan at the start of Interswitch’s operations in 2001. He has over 14 years experience in various positions including: managing acquisitions and expansion into various markets. He has worked with PWC, Accenture in Nigeria as well as American Express in the United kingdom, UK, and other countries.

Interswitch Limited is a Pan-African integrated transaction and payment processing company with a business footprint that covers the provision of shared, integrated e-payment solutions for financial and non-financial institutions. It enables electronic payments to facilitate e-commerce, and provides value-added services as well as real-time online electronic reporting and monitoring to various corporate organisations. Interswitch, in its innovative way, has continued to develop and improve on existing products and services to meet the needs of various industries.

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