Standard Chartered, the country’s oldest bank is bullish of the year ahead after experiencing a decline on profitability in recent years owing to variety of reasons.
This is the message coming clearly from the relatively new Chief Executive Officer, Mpho Masupe. He was speaking at the bank’s branch opening at Mowana Park, Phakalane on Wednesday morning.
“As we kick-start 2018 with this branch opening, it signals the beginning of an exciting year ahead across our retail, commercial and global segments,” stated Masupe who was appointed to head the 120-year old bank in October 2017.
“We are poised to share new products and enhanced offerings, new services, and greater integration across segments, all of which are aligned to our global push to create efficiency and convenience to you our clients through innovation and digitization on our global award winning digital platforms”.
Concerning new products and services, BG Business understands that it is just a matter of time before the bank signs a deal with one of the local mobile telecommunications companies to offer exclusive services to the unbanked community. Executives of the bank are tight-lipped who the prefer mobile telecommunications company is.
The listed lender, which is a unit of Standard Chartered plc, has also announced that more focus will also be placed on digital banking platforms.
“Our branches of the future are smaller and champion digital integration and focus on fast friendly service offering to our clients,” he stressed. The new branch at the leafy Phakalane is the 21st for the bank.
Masupe also told guests who included Bank of Botswana (BoB) Deputy Governor, Andrew Motsomi that, the new branch will offer services mainly to Priority Banking customers. However, this does not discount other customers.
Speaking at the same event, Head of Retail, Pedzani Tafa said Priority banking customers remain a key segment of the bank’s operations. “In 2017, we witnessed a 70% year-on-year growth in our Priority segment which was strong affirmation that what we have to offer is what this segment is looking for,” she stated.
Standard Chartered is currently among the top four banks in the country, but its position within the group has lately come under threat due to its decreasing profitability.
For the half year results to June 2017 the bank posted a loss of P57 million on its comprehensive income. “Our H1 results are not our best and we will continue to have some real challenges in the short term.
“We have booked a H1 loss for 2017, which is our first in many years. The outcome for our H1 result is not unexpected. A tough external environment which saw reduced margins, hurt our income,” said Masupe at the time.
The bank is currently under a closed period ahead of the coming full year results announcement in few months’ time.