Standard Chartered Bank Botswana, the country’s oldest bank, is optimistic of the year ahead despite fears that the economy will not grow by earlier forecast levels.
The commercial bank, which is among the top four in the country, like others, depends on consumer confidence which itself is dependent on economic performance.
Writing in the group’s 2016 annual report, Chairman Professor Bojosi Otlhogile said the ‘outlook for 2017 is positive, the balance sheet is strong and the business segments have a good pipeline for conversion in 2017’.
‘We believe, in line with the bullish forecast for economic growth of 4, 2 percent, our strategy will deliver sustainable growth which will deliver strong returns to shareholders and enhance the profile of the franchise.’
His positive views are also shared by the bank’s former Chief Executive, Moatlhodi Lekaukau, who stated that, while the external trading environment is challenging, investing in people and technology will ensure they rise above.
“We expect that conduct, monitoring and control to be the top agenda for 2017 to ensure containment of loan impairment whilst returning higher profitability,” said Moatlhodi who is now an entrepreneur. The bank’s balance sheet is fit for growth. “We remain confident on our ability to realise long term sustainable gains and build strong balance sheet,” said the former Standard Chartered boss, who has been replaced by Mpho Masupe on an acting capacity.
This week, Bank of Botswana (BoB) Governor, Moses Pelaelo declined to answer a Botswana Guardian question relating to the appointment of a substantive CEO of the country’s oldest bank. The central bank vets potential candidates in all senior management of commercial banks.
Meanwhile, Bojosi has told shareholders that the bank will continue to provide ground breaking and tailor-made banking solutions to its customers. “During the year under review, value was added to our clients by launching a number of new exciting products,” added Bojosi.
According to Head of Retail Banking, Pedzani Tafa, the bank will also provide digitalised services for their various products. “The bank will continue to work hard to improve on customer banking experience. Most importantly, we will continue with our digital by design initiative,” said Tafa.
A new state of the art branch was opened at Sir Seretse Khama International Airport, marking the 20th branch for the bank, which is a unit of Standard Chartered plc. The bank celebrates its 120 years in Botswana this year.
Head of Commercial banking, Kesego Mokgetse is also bullish on the year ahead. His department provides services to commercial clients. “We have run a challenging race in 2016 and we are well equipped in terms of systems, lessons learnt and human resources to push the unit into the next level in 2017,” said the Old Dominion University alumni, Mokgetse.
For the year under review, the bank’s total income grew by 3 percent. Net interest income was up by 13 percent despite the low rate regime.