Business Banking Foreign Exchange: Achieving Seamless Transactions

First National Bank (FNB) has been named South Africa's Best Foreign Exchange Provider for six consecutive years, and naturally, they want to hold onto that title. To this end, they partnered with Retro Rabbit to upgrade their current platform. This was a major strategic decision, aimed to ensure they retain their existing clientele, while solidifying their position as the leading foreign exchange provider in South Africa. By enhancing their platform, FNB succeeded in better serving their customers and maintaining their reputation as the premier choice for forex services.

As consultants, we brought our expertise to the table, collaborating closely with FNB to revolutionise the foreign exchange process. Together, we aimed to enhance every aspect of the customer journey, ensuring a seamless and cutting-edge experience for FNB's clients. Through this collaboration, FNB has taken proactive steps to stay ahead in the industry and provide their customers with unparalleled foreign exchange services.

Challenges Faced

Proprietary banking technology

To successfully work on the project, we had to master the usage of a complex proprietary framework exclusive to FNB. This framework is not available to the public, so every developer joining the project had to start from scratch in learning it. The main challenge was to seamlessly adapt to this framework and ensure the delivery of high-quality work within our established standards of maintainable software architecture.

Exploration of new technologies and services

To meet our ambitious objectives at FNB, we needed to integrate state-of-the-art technologies and consistently pursue innovative solutions. Our primary challenge was to identify and implement the most appropriate technologies that would enhance the platform's functionality and security, while ensuring a seamless user experience at all times.

Developing in a continuously evolving environment

To ensure ongoing progress, FNB adopted a daily deployment practice, which is widely recognised as a best practice. However, this frequent deployment schedule resulted in regular downtime in the development environment, presenting a challenge for Retro Rabbit's delivery timeline.


Standardising functionality

We established guidelines and reusable standards that can be applied repeatedly across different parts of the project. This promoted consistency, efficiency, and maintainability. Moreover, this approach mitigated the initial learning curve of the proprietary framework that we faced during the initial startup phase of the project.

Widely used technologies in the field of software development

We opted to use MapStruct, Spring Boot, and Hazelcast to enhance the development and performance of the Java-based application. MapStruct simplifies object mapping, Spring Boot simplifies application development and deployment, and Hazelcast provides scalable and distributed data processing capabilities. By leveraging these technologies, we improved development productivity, data handling efficiency, and the reliability of system performance.

Virtualised test doubles, including stubs and mocks

As software professionals, we understand the value of investing in automated testing. We did so by combining Hystrix fallbacks with Mountebank's virtualised test doubles, which allowed developers to create comprehensive and robust testing strategies. The fallback mechanism ensures that applications gracefully handle failures, while Mountebank allows for controlled testing of various scenarios by simulating the behaviour of external services. This combination helps identify and address potential issues, improving the overall quality and reliability of software systems.

Achieved Results

Despite the numerous challenges encountered, Retro Rabbit successfully delivered a product that upheld FNB's reputation as South Africa's Best Foreign Exchange Provider. The newly developed digital platform featured an intuitive and user-friendly design, allowing business owners to navigate the process with ease and efficiency. This instilled confidence in the end users, reassuring them that FNB is their reliable business partner for international transactions.

About the author

Wesley Buck profile picture

Wesley Buck

Wesley Buck

I am a developer at Retro Rabbit. During my leisure hours, I take pleasure in engaging in physical activities such as exercising and riding various two-wheeled vehicles. Read more from Wesley Buck...