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BY KABELO SEITSHIRO
In its continued efforts to meet the rising demands of the country’s young and digitally-savvy population as well as to cater for the un-banked, local banker - Standard Chartered Botswana launched its digital-only retail bank platform in the capital Gaborone last week.
The first-of-its-kind digital bank offers an end-to-end digital account opening experience which the ban officials said has been developed following client feedback to offer a convenient platform to service all their banking needs.
Chief Executive Officer - Mpho Masupe said at the night of the launch that the digital-only retail bank launch comes in response to growing consumer demand for digital solutions to their everyday lives including their banking services.
“The bank has engaged in strategic local alliances to create an appealing lifestyle banking proposition to provide customers offers across shopping, travel and dining,” said Masupe.
The new banking platform is delivered through an innovative mobile application, which forms the basis of the first steps towards a truly digital experience, from account opening and activation, to funding and transacting.
The launch means that Botswana is the 5th market globally to introduce the state-of-the-art new platform this year, after the Côte d'Ivoire pilot in 2018.
The international Bank which is trading its securities at the Botswana Stock Exchange Limited is expected to continue its digital expansion in African markets with another launch planned in September for Nigeria.
Listed amongst the oldest commercial banks in the country, Stanchartered Bank Botswana or Stanchart as is usually referred to have been going through a rough patch in the past few years. The London headquartered bank however turned the tables in 2018posting a Profit after Tax of P24million, up from the P189million loss incurred in 2017.
The bank’s financial statements further shows a subdued top line performance mainly as a result of contained growth during the first half of the year and a market led increased cost of liquidity.
Managing Director – Mpho Masupe says the bank undertook a rebalancing initiative during 2018 with focus on the corporate segments.
“Early results have been reflected by an overall decrease on the Non Performing Loan (NPL) ratio which climbed down from 7.1% to 3.3%”, Masupe said.
Masupe maintains that Botswana’s economic outlook is positive and the Bank is geared for growth leveraging on balance sheet strength and a strong capital position.
Meanwhile the bank was expected to hold its Annual General Meeting (AGM) last week in the capital Gaborone. Amongst other things the bank shareholders will look the appointment of Doreen Cilla Khama and Jerry Kweku Boi Bedu- Addo who joined the bank last year as non-executive directors.