Barclays Bank of Botswana (BBB), the biggest bank in the country took a bold initiative last week by trying to inform members of parliament on the intricacies of business.
The bank which re-asserted itself as the biggest player in the banking industry by growing its branches and ATM networks in the country.
“2007 was a year of growth which saw us being in control of 60 percent of retail and commercial floor space in the country. We have opened sales and service centers in a number of places,” Chief Executive Officer of BBB, Thuli Johnson, said.
“We have deepened banking in Botswana and we now have 106 ATMs in the country. And, in the short term, our ATMs will start taking deposits,” he added.
Further, Barclays said part of its programme this year is to improve on its technology with the aim of installing a new platform that will reposition it in the market against its peers.
The new platform, which will give it a superior band-with, is expected to enhance the service deliveryÔÇöincluding cutting the loan application turn around period from 48 hours to 30 minutes. The new system will also provide varied services, such as internet banking and cell-phone banking, which, it is believed, will be introduced by early next year.
“We are going to introduce a new IT platform which will help us do business much better,” Johnson said about the full year financial result at a media briefing held at Gaborone Sun on Monday.
Despite the write-down caused by Lobtrans, the bank showed good growth in all segments and better outlook given its recent expansion exercise. The bank has doubled its number of ATMs and increased its branches and service centers by opening 14 new ones.
It is also planning to bring down its costs to income ratio by engaging with its suppliers during the course of this year.
Loan growth grew by 30 percent to P 879 million, which was mainly geared towards consumer banking, while assets shot-up to P 10.7 billion.
Barclays is also battling to maintain its lead by improving its service delivery despite the fact that in the recent past it has got an approval from its customers in its recent survey. Apart from its expansion programme, the bank has also dropped its floor regarding minimum requirement for opening an account.
“As part of our financial inclusion we are also going to introduce a micro-leading division,” he said.
The move is expected to help in encouraging the small and medium enterprises to climb the corporate ladder as it will give them access to finance and banking. The sweeping arrangements are expected to take-off before the end of the year.