Bank Gaborone Chief Executive Officer Andre Barnard said taking advantage of technology advances in the banking industry has made his bank achieve a profit after tax of P9 million for the year ended June 30, with the bank’s assets exceeding P2.175 billion.
Addressing the media on Wednesday in Gaborone, Barnard said Capricorn Investment Holdings Limited (CIH), a Namibian financial services group, started operating in Botswana after it was licensed by Bank of Botswana as a commercial bank in February 2006. He stated that the bank’s focus has been on providing products and services that meet the client needs. Barnard revealed that the bank has created more than 237 job opportunities during the past five years of which ninety-six percent are Batswana.
“We want to sell 25 percent of the bank share to Batswana in the next twelve months and being a new player in the market, we had to compete with established banks,” said Barnard.
According to Barnard, by the end of the year, the bank will be able to introduce mobile banking which he said will open doors to a whole new market in rural areas where there are no banks.
He said engaging clients through satisfaction surveys and maintaining an open door policy will enable them to identify problem areas and will take action to improve. Barnard stated that bank ATM network has expanded to provide customers with access to their finances. In addition to the six branches and ATMs, they have installed nine merchants ATMs mainly in locations where there are no branches.
“With E-Pula our customers are able to manage their finances, anytime anywhere,” said Barnard.
Barnard said technology driven products and services are no longer a value add, but a must if the bank wants to remain competitive. He revealed that the challenge the bank faced was synchronizing the group expectations with the expectations of the Botswana market. He also stated that they had to establish facilities and install equipment before the bank could start making profit. Barnard said CIH Namibia invested P118 million over the past five years and added that in June 2007 the bank made a profit after tax of P155 million.
“The bank has made a number of donations over the years and we intend to focus more on our corporate social responsibility as we grow,” said Barnard.
Meanwhile, this year, Bank Gaborone is turning five years in Botswana, the bank Credit Manager, Agatha Maswibilili, said celebration gatherings will take place in different branches.