Stanbic Bank Botswana Managing Director, Leina Gabaraane, has revealed that the bank has grown its position in the market from June 2013 to be the third largest bank in the country.
Gabaraane said the significant change in market share is of high importance to the bank considering the fact that in 2008 it was a distant fourth bank in the market.
“We have been able to grow ourselves into household brand and able to penetrate the retail market where we had little presence in and having achieved that it was important for us to have staying power,” he revealed.
Gabaraane, who assumed the position of Managing Director of Stanbic Bank in 2011, said that the old banking system that Stanbic discontinued at the beginning of last year was very inflexible and did not allow change in product developments quickly.
He pointed that for that reason, the bank saw the need to invest hugely into a new core banking system. The system is estimated to have cost Stanbic Bank in excess of P100 million.
“The bank to have a single and an integrated view of the client base, resulting in enhanced service and customer experience, differentiate the products and services. It is like we were driving a very inferior vehicle but now driving a superior vehicle.”
The new banking system allows quick product development to align with technological advancements. He emphasised that business is about client service, product development and about price.
“If you are able to provide two of those you will only be able to penetrate the market to a certain point and then will you will be unable to go beyond that because of technological capabilities,” said Gabaraane.
He admitted that 2013 regarding the bank’s inward focus was the most risky and probably the most costly project that he undertook adding that there were some client’s interruptions because of the sales ability that made the year a bumpy one for the bank which is over that now.
Gabaraane is also optimistic that in the next few months, Stanbic Bank Botswana will be flooding the market with technological products based on mobile platforms being launched.
“We have seen an aggressive bank rate cut by Bank of Botswana, and the cuts are meant for stimulating the economy activities. It is our wish to see the results of the exercise going into economic growth,” said Gabaarane.
His view of 2014 is that it is a positive year based on the country’s news on diamonds, as well as the global economy as Botswana is based a lot on the global economy. He added that historically in general elections year, there is usually more spending and he said he is anxiously waiting for the budget speech next week.
Asked how the bank is responding to competition, he pointed out that his bank welcomes competition.
“We will lift our game and produce good results for best products for our customers,” he said.
He emphasized that the bank had a couple of misunderstandings with the bank’s union members. He said information flow was not at the level it should be, adding that the bank has a cordial relationship with its staff members.
“We are one bank in the market that we always find other ways of our cost downward and we have never retrenched members of staff in this country and retrenchment will be always the last option,” said Gabaraane.