Stanbic Bank raised alarm bells in the market on Friday that it has arrived with full force to the retail banking as it launched its two branches in Molepolole and Mogoditshane.
Leina Gabaraane, the bank’s Managing Director said Stanbic is coming late to the retail space ‘deliberately’ as it was giving itself more time to understand the complexity of the market and ascertain customer needs.
“We are saying to the market that we are in the game”, Gabaraane said after the tour of the two branches in Kweneng.
Stanbic, one of the top four in the country, has over the 17 years it has been in Botswana curved itself as a leading corporate bank having had arranged a number of transactions including the Morupule B financing, which attracted accolades around the world.
This deal and others has made the bank a leading debt arranger and it is likely to take 7 out of 10 transactions done in the country.
It is also an active participant in the downstream diamond cutting and polishing industry.
With time, the un-listed banking house has evolved into retail sphere where local banks have been criticised for reaping-off clients with high charges as it is the area where they make most of their revenues apart from Bank of Botswana Certificates (BoBCs).
In the mean time, Stanbic was able to get ready for the retail rollout by establishing swift electronic capability, which includes mobile banking.
“In rolling out retail capability, we need to develop a pool factor and be able to retain customers,” said Gabaraane, revealing that his bank’s ATMs also allow customers to pay their bills.
Gabaraane said his outfit is now a fully fledged retail bank and it has readied systems, including revamping its customer center and improved its turnaround time capabilities to 24 hours.
The new two branches are not the conventional brick and mortar and the explanation given by Stanbic is that its investment should make sense by investing moderately.
The bank has over the years had customers in Molepolole.
It is estimated that one branch cost a tenth of the brick and mortar building, which means the bank had saved money but was able to bring services to the people.
“If we went to Molepolole the traditional way of brick and mortar would have cost us 10 times (of the amount) we spent. This way it will allow us to get to the market quicker. As you might have seen, we have not compromised on the quality of service,” added the MD.
“It is a response to government and Governor’s (BoB) calls to take banking to the people.”
The new form of banking experiences works just like a normal branch with a Branch Manager.
It has a sales platform, back office area, a teller/enquiries area and ATM machine outside that makes the feel of a conventional banking hall.
Currently, the staff compliment at the Molepolole branch is 5, with the ability to go to grow it to 8. One branch is estimated to cost around P500, 000 to assemble.
The Mogoditshane branch is still under construction and could be ready before the end of this month if Bank of Botswana (BoB) issues it with a banking license.
The Molepolole branch is situated between the old Spar and Caltex Filling Station at Goo Moloinyana Ward while the Mogoditshane branch is located on Molepolole Road at the old Choppies Mall, opposite Kwena Mall.
Already, First National Bank of Botswana (FNBB), Standard Chartered, Barclays and Bank Gaborone have presence in the Kweneng area.
At last people from these areas will not travel to Gaborone for banking as its ATMs are also VISA compatible.
Stanbic Bank announced its growth plans in 2008, and has since opened new branches in Palapye and the CBD in Gaborone.