Saturday, July 4, 2020

BBS re-submits application for banking license

The Botswana Building Society (BBS) is laying the foundation to become a commercial bank by the second quarter of 2021 provided the regulator permits.

Managing director, Pius Molefe has said the BBS is updating the banking licence application with the latest financial results for re-submission to Bank of Botswana.

The re-submission is expected once the Bank has finalised the audit for the period ended December 2019.

In the Banks’ latest financial statements for the nine-month period ended 31st December 2019 released last week, Molefe assured stakeholders: “BBSL is in full mode to run the commercial bank in the event that the Bank of Botswana issues it with a license. Its Annual General Meeting will be called for soon after the one for the period ended December 2018. I am confident that this time around there will be no need for us to recall the banking licence application and that, at the latest, by the second quarter of 2021 we should be operating as a commercial bank.”

For her part, BBS chairperson Pelani Siwawa-Ndai said: “We have put in place measures such as monitoring our core banking system on a daily basis as a way of identifying any irregularities. We also voluntarily withdrew our banking licence application from the Bank of Botswana in October 2019 to enable us to resolve the system challenges. We now anticipate resubmitting the banking licence application during the last quarter of 2020. In the meantime, preparatory work to operate as a commercial bank is ongoing.”

The BBS in September 2018 listed 487 million shares, representing its issued capital, on the Botswana Stock Exchange’s new Serala OTC board, marking a leap in the company’s demutualization process.

To this day, the Bank has finalised a new organisational structure which is in line with the envisaged banking operation that will help deliver on the mandate of the new bank. The Bank is finalising a new business strategy that is more attuned to the demands of a commercial bank.

As part of its new products and services offering, Molefe revealed that the Bank is also fine-tuning a new digitalisation strategy “to ensure that we set ourselves apart from competitors as far as possible in terms of our offering. 

“We believe that the digitalisation strategy will speak for itself when and after the new brand for the envisaged bank is launched,” adds Molefe.

The upgraded banking platform, Temenos T24 is said to be stabilising and the management is confident that by the time the banking license is issued, it would be functioning to the level expected.   

In addition, the Bank is also improving its physical infrastructure so that it is fit for purpose in respect of its future plans. Currently housed at BBS House in Kagiso Shopping Centre, plans are also underway to develop a new head-office for the Bank at its plot in the new CBD in Gaborone.

Molefe says “the property is ideally located on the corner of Molepolole Road and New Lobatse Road, otherwise known as the “Phase 2 traffic lights”. Therefore, we intend building a Head Office that will not only be easy on the eye architecturally but also give the BBS Limited brand the desired lift.”

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Sunday Standard June 28 – 4 July

Digital copy of Sunday Standard issue of June 28 - 4 July, 2020.