The launch of a self-registration mobile banking phone application last week Thursday was hailed as an announcement by BancABC of its endeavour to claim a larger share of the financial market in Botswana. BancABC Managing, Director Jitto Kurian said the launch was part of the numerous strategies that were put in place in a bid to catapult the bank to a higher pedestal in the local market and assume a greater market share in the banking sector.
At number five in the pecking order of local commercial banks, BancABC is determined to play catch-up until it is counted among the top three banks in Botswana. Kurian told Sunday Standard that the bank is working on a number of initiatives; among them phase two of the development of its internet platform which will offer additional services. Also, the bank will soon roll out deposit taking and foreign currency dispensing ATMs. Kurian emphasised that BancABC has always sought ways to break new ground by offering something better than what was on the market.
“Mobile banking is not new, but we are bringing certain features that will make our service unique and offer greater convenience to customers,” he said.
Besides the fact that customers do not need to register at a bank branch to start using the mobile app, which BancABC proclaims that no other bank is doing, the app also includes a loan application enquiry option which is a first in the mobile banking scene. According to BancABC’s Country Manager of Cards and e-Channels, Chester Ndziradzemhuka a customer who selects the loan application option in the mobile app will later receive a follow up call from the bank to discuss the request for a loan.
Another avenue which Kurian highlighted that the bank is leveraging on is establishing mutually beneficial partnerships. He gave the examples of the bank’s partnership with Botswana Life, a life insurance company which uses the bank’s platform to make policy pay outs to its customers. Another partnership is with Orange, a network operator which also uses BancABC’s platform for its customers to make transactions through the Orange money debit card.
“We are confident that strategic partnerships and innovative banking solutions will propel us to be a top tier bank,” he said.
Since its acquisition by London Stock Exchange listed company, Atlas Mara, which consequently led to its exit from the local bourse, BancABC almost completely cut ties with the local media. The last big event the bank engaged the media on was in April when it disclosed its lacklustre financial results for the year ended 31 December 2014, characterised by a profit plunge of 53 percent from the previous year. The sordid performance was blamed on constrained interest income and increased impairments, which rose from P42 million in 2013 to P110 million in 2014. The liquidity crisis that hit the banking sector also disfavoured the bank’s stride to attaining profits. However, Kurian described 2015 as a good year in which the bank managed to achieve what it had set out to do. “Notwithstanding the challenges, we managed to find growth and attract new customers. We are very happy with that,” he said.