Minister of Transport and Communications, Tshenolo Mabeo has said efforts are still under way to obtain a commercial banking licence for Botswana Savings Bank. BSB currently operates with a development banking licence and its merge with BotswanaPost has long been overdue.
Responding to Member of Parliament for Gaborone Central, Phenyo Butale’s inquiry last week, Minister Mabeo confirmed that BSB has not obtained a commercial banking license yet, “but I can confidently assure this House that plans are at an advanced stage to submit an application to Bank of Botswana (BoB) for consideration before the end of this year.” He added that it has come to the attention of the government that there are some Batswana who are unable to bank, therefore talks with BoB are still underway.
Meanwhile, at a recent BotswanaPost media brief, the chairman Polokoetsile Motau highlighted that, for “BSB to be granted a commercial banking licence, they will have to merge with a profit making entity.
Therefore we have to be profit making as BotswanaPost.Motau could not be drawn to discuss more details on the merger progression, but just said efforts are still underway. On the other hand, BotswanaPost, which has been on its transformation journey, has finished the year 2014/15 with a total loss of P47million. The BotswanaPost expects modest revenue for the 2015/16 financial results, which are understood to be at an audit level and will be released soon. Giving an update on the bank’s performance over the last five years, Mabeo
indicated that BSB has consistently delivered good results over the period. He told parliament that, “for the period spanning from 2011 to 2015, BSB profits increased from P4 million to P20 million. Its revenues increased by up to 64 per cent from P52 million to P85 million. At the same time, BSB has more than doubled its asset book from P606 million to P1.57 billion.”
Meanwhile, as part of the Botswana Savings Bank and Botswana Post merger, BSB has developed an overarching strategy that defines a transformation phase taking into consideration new value proposition for customers. BSB has undertaken initiatives to turn the business around such as the successful completion of a restructuring project in 2014 to align human resource planning to the current operating model; the bank launched three new products namely Debit card, Express loan and Lecha Loan. The bank is enhancing its technological systems as well by implementing a multi-channel network that embraces other self-service options like Point of Sale (POS), ATMs and co-branded branches within selected post offices.
The aim is to turn the business around to drive the financial inclusion agenda with the intention to provide customer-centric financial services at affordable costs to disadvantaged and low-income segments of the society. Amongst its many initiatives to increase its channels, BSB has recently successfully rolled out ATMs on its network of branches for faster and easier access to financial services. Mabeo revealed that the project will be officially launched at the end of this July.