Stanbic Bank Botswana Managing Director Leina Gabaraane has admitted that the bank was fraught with challenges that impacted the bank performance during 2014.
However, in an interview with SUNDAY STANDARD, Gabaraane indicated that competition is always welcome because it affords the consumers the opportunity to vote with their feet and choose a bank or service provider that offers the most value for money.
“Banks strategy is therefore to ensure that it continues to position itself as the preferred banker to our consumers,” he said.
Gabaraane noted that the Botswana banking sector is intensely competitive, and added that it is therefore incumbent upon any service provider to leverage its competitiveness and strengths; accordingly they have identified their strengths to be in their corporate and commercial banking services which they will leverage to be the leading corporate and business bank in Botswana.
“This obviously encompasses the SME sector as well. We have therefore developed quite a number of product offerings which we believe will differentiate us from our competitors,” said Gabaraane.
His other observation is that the ecosystem is changing very fast adding that today’s the banking sector faces competition from non-traditional banks. He pointed out that today’s bank consumer is more demanding. He stated that the successful bank in the future will have a strong innovative DNA.
Asked on the Stanbic Botswana’s other segments and divisions where its performance has been going down, he said that product lines tend to perform differently under different ecosystems. He added that it is incumbent upon any management team to continuously innovate and where appropriate amend or even discontinue some products that are not fairing very well in different conditions. Stanbic MD highlighted that that another intervention to ensure sustenance of the different product lines is to ensure operational efficiency and customer service excellence.
“The bank’s immediate priority is to continue to execute its important mandate of being a financial intermediary of choice in Botswana and thereby contribute to the continued deepening of the financial services sector in Botswana and the growth of the economy,” he said.
He believes that the provision of excellent customer service to, strengthen the competitive advantage and to provide maximum value to all stakeholders are also their immediate priorities.
Gabaraane’s comment regarding the Bank of Botswana (BoB) decision to impose a two-year moratorium on any upward adjustment of bank charges and fees, he said that fees and commissions are only one income stream, the freezing of fees and commission increases does not necessarily mean the cessation of bank income because the bank can leverage other lines.
“The moratorium of fees also does not mean banks do not earn any fees and commissions but rather that increases are not allowed,” he stated.