COVID-19 is teaching us, especially in the African context, that we need to be more self-reliant. As a continent, we need to ensure that we have access to basic needs such as clean water, functional sanitation, and reliable health facilities. What we may have taken for granted, is the need to have reliable personal finances. The pandemic has reminded us of the need to always be prepared for the worst, life as we know it changed in a matter of days.
The one upside of lockdown, if any, was that it drove us a nation, to join the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4ir). Having little to no-access to facilities we make use of every day without a second thought such as supermarkets, fast food outlets and banking halls meant that we had to make use of other electronic platforms made available in order to continue with our day-to-day lives. Financial transactions, ordering your favourite meal and groceries all became available at the tip of our fingers. The realisation of having substantial funds became crystal clear.
Having recently come out of lockdown and trying to regain some sense of normality, we are all very cautious of how we interact with each other and are looking for establishments that can offer us that much-needed peace of mind. For instance, some have become more reluctant to travel to their local banking hall, and will, as a result, make use of the digital platforms available, this means the particular bank must be able to facilitate these types of transactions while assuring the usually apprehensive customer of the security that comes with e-platforms.
Batswana specifically need banks to be fully committed to providing them with inclusive and sustainable solutions during the Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic and beyond, in addition to providing them with the much-needed sense of security about their finances. Studies have shown that customers determine who they bank with on proximity and location, which means that regional banks have an advantage over larger competitors because they can offer more personalised services, both in-branch and digitally.
Second to proximity is convenience and value, as they still come up as priorities when consumers decide on a banking service provider. For banks to survive and grow, they need to win in the convenience space without compromising the quality and value of the offering, which is why getting the basics right by offering simple yet value-adding banking solutions is imperative, particularly during uncertain times.
Customers seek banking solutions that provide convenience like prepaid cards which allow them, their family, friends and employees to use at Visa outlets or ATMs around the world. From a value perspective, clients seek savings accounts that allow their money to work for them without feeling locked in and unable to access their funds for unforeseen emergencies. Additionally, consumers are after banking service providers that essentially look out for them and offer value-added products such as funeral cover and other products for the various stages of their life journey.
Banks have a crucial role to play in restoring our communities, and through adopting a customer-centric approach, we can continue to empower our people to make the best financial decisions. Banks that offer simple, intuitive and integrated products and services that address customers’ pain points will certainly see meaningful growth post this current pandemic.
About Atlas Mara
Atlas Mara (www.atlasmara.com) was listed on the main market of the London Stock Exchange in December 2013. Atlas Mara's strategy is to create Sub-Saharan Africa's premier financial services institution through a combination of its experience, expertise and access to capital, liquidity and funding.
Its goals are to combine the best of global institutional knowledge with extensive local insights and to support economic growth and financial inclusion in the countries in which it operates.
BancABC Botswana is a part of the Atlas Mara Group. Our vision is to be the trusted local bank in Botswana, offering world-class solutions and building profitable, lifelong customer relationships through the provision of a wide range of innovative financial products and services to benefit all stakeholders. BancABC in Botswana, Mozambique, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
The group offers a diverse range of products in corporate banking, treasury services, retail & SME banking, asset management and stockbroking.