Stanbic Bank Botswana, one of the top four banks in the country is banking on personal markets as well as business banking divisions to drive its growth for the current year, acting Chief Executive Sam Minta has disclosed.
He was sharing information with Botswana Guardian at a media gathering after the bank was chosen as the best bank in Botswana by Global Finance Magazine recently.
The move by the bank to target retail banking for its growth could be a surprise to many as most of the bank’s growth has been coming from investment and corporate banking since they set foot in the country more than 25 years ago.
Minta, who is the substantive Chief Finance Officer, is mindful of the fact that consumers’ disposal incomes have taken a nosedive as a result of consecutive salary adjustments, which were less than inflation in most instances. Equally, the recent rise of petrol prices, electricity as well as inflation will surely put consumers under pressure, basically limiting their ability to get additional credit commitments and related services. Minta, who is seen as potential the candidate to replace Leina Gabaraane as Chief Executive, told the press that they will also increase their digital banking platforms which are a hit with both retail and business banking clients.
The bank’s digital platforms, which have seen the bank partnering with some service providers in the country, will also mean more customers will make less frequent visits to branches as they can now conduct their banking online. Personal and business banking contributed P37 million to the company’s P205 million profits after tax in the year ended December 2017.
The division was moving from a P6 million loss the year before.
“This is (was) a culmination of a strong PBB leadership, strategic investments into people, channels and systems,” said the bank in a statement announcing its 2017 results.
The bank, which is a unit of Standard Bank, Africa’s largest bank by assets, is planning to grow its business banking unit, which will see them supporting small, medium and large enterprises which in the end can create the much needed jobs in Botswana.
Stanbic has been increasing its network of Automated Teller Machines to deal with consumer traffic, stated Head of Marketing, Stephane Stoneham.
Some of its ATMs have also been replaced with ‘modern ones,’ added Stoneham who joined the bank from rival Barclays Bank Botswana some few years ago.
Meanwhile, the bank's head of human capital, Chedza Balopi heaped praises on the bank’s staff adding that they have enabled them to get the bank of the year award from Global Finance Magazine.
She adds that the bank is fortunate to be part of Standard Bank group as this enables them to have fit for purposes employees.
The bank snatched the award in Botswana, as it has been consistent in offering expertise and relationships to assist clients, and negotiate complex financial and regulatory cross-border environments.
“This is done through the bank’s digital journey, customer-centricity and efforts towards providing a universal bank experience,” said Global Finance Magazine in a statement.
“As Stanbic Bank Botswana, we aim to remain consistent in providing universal banking solutions that help move our people forward. Botswana is our home and we will continue to invest in driving the growth of our communities and clients,” said Minta.
Stanbic Botswana, the country’s largest unlisted bank is bullish on the year ahead despite growing concerns the economy will not recover at a much faster pace as expected.
The company’s Chairman, Craig Granville, Chief Executive, Leina Gabaraane and Chief Financial Officer, Sam Minta highlighted this in a company annual report published recently. The trio’s confidence it seems, is backed by a strong showing by the bank for the past financial year in which they grew bottom line by 48percent to close at P195million, beating some of the listed banks in the country.
“I remain confident that the executive team, the entire staff and the investments made in critical operational areas will support the delivery of another exceptional performance in 2017,” said Cranville. Stanbic, which is subsidiary of Standard Bank, Africa’s largest bank by assets, has over the years remained safe and sound despite challenges within the banking industry. The banking industry’s size is estimated at half of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the economy.
Stanbic’s sustained profitability has attracted opinions from some commentators urging it to list at the domestic bourse. In an exclusive interview with BG Business in Johannesburg, South Africa, co-Chief Executive Ben Kruger said the bank cannot list because shareholders cannot bear the cost associated with a listing process. Kruger was speaking in 2013.
It was not immediately clear if the position of the bank on listing has changed at press time. The man who controls the company’s operations on a daily basis, Gabaraane is also upbeat that ‘the strong foundations of 2016 will help the Bank navigate the likely strong headwinds in 2017.
Some of the headwinds that Gabaraane is referring to include lower bank rate regime(the bank rate is currently at a two-decades low of 5,5percent), the struggling domestic economy, limited disposable income, among others. Last year the bank launched the country’s first mobile branch which is a hit with customers especially outside cities and major villages. The 25-year old bank also launched ‘Road to Excellence’ strategy last year. It focuses on improving customer experience, building stronger teams and building the balance sheet. The purse holder Minta, is also optimistic that the bank will survive the storm which has affected its peers.
“Notwithstanding the current market conditions, there is a growing confidence across Stanbic Bank in our ability to deliver strong results against strong macro-economic performance,” wrote Minta, a former CFO at Stanbic Zambia. In the past year, the bank bought a P213million core banking software from its parent company, Standard Bank.
“The central bank granted the bank (Stanbic) to phase the acquisition cost to equity over 5 years,” stated Minta. The personal and business banking unit is also expected to return to profitability this year. It has been impacted by rates cut. For shareholders, the past year was unforgettable. “For the first time in three years, dividends of P150million was declared and paid in June,” stated Minta.
Locally, Stanbic is among the top four banks in the country by any measure.