Considers Africa market lucrative
Opened first digital bank in Africa
Bill Winters, the group Chief Executive Officer of Standard Chartered Bank, has allayed customers’ fears, saying unlike his competitors, the bank will not close shop in Botswana or the African continent.
Winters was in Botswana this week to join his local board members, banking staff, clients and the public in celebrating the bank’s 120 years of operation in the country. The glamorous celebrations were held at Gaborone International Convention Centre (GICC).
Speaking to BG News on the sidelines of the celebrations and responding to this publication’s question on whether his bank will follow Barclays’ lead and pull out of Africa, Winters said: “The idea of Standard Chartered Bank leaving Africa does not cross my mind”.
He said they made it clear two years ago that they are committed to Africa. “We have a great business in Africa, we have long history having started 150 years ago,” he said.
As for accusations that the bank always lags behind in initiatives that could benefit Botswana, Winters promised that they certainly will come up with initiatives to boost local businesses both in Botswana and the African continent.
He said they always place Africa as a top priority when they discuss global investments whether in digital banking, applications or particular products. “There is no individual market in Africa that is as big for ourselves as the market in Hongkong, Singapore or India, but Africa is as important as any region that we have. It is growing really fast and we have real advantage, we are now rolling our projects in Africa.”
He said they are building their first purely digital bank in Cote de I’voire. It is currently being tested and will later be rolled out to the rest of Africa. “So I do not know about other banks, but for us Africa comes first”.
Asked when his bank will appoint a substantive Chief Executive Officer in Botswana, Winters said, “That is a complicated process, I wish I could say, but I am sure we will have resolution before too long”.
The bank is currently led by Mpho Masupe as acting CEO following the departure of Moathudi Lekaukau who resigned his position early this year. Without doubt the bank is making huge profits, Board chairman Professor Bojosi Othugile wrote in the group’s 2016 annual report that ‘outlook for 2017 is positive, the balance sheet is strong and the business segments have a good pipeline for conversion in 2017’.