Stanbic Bank Botswana: Future Ready Banking with Customer at the Heart
The complexity of transforming a regulated organisation into an agile, innovative and digital-first well-oiled machine is what Stanbic Bank Botswana’s Head of Transformation, Keamogetse ‘Nkamo’ Mpudi, is charged with doing. Mpudi leads a diverse portfolio; however, there is one common underlying factor and this is the fact that everything she and her team do in Transformation ultimately facilitates Stanbic Bank’s future-readiness into a truly digital business. Transformation is mandated with the Bank’s data strategy. At the core of this is leveraging of data, which began in 2020, as well as the management of all data held in the Bank, where the focus is on definition of data quality standards and adherence to the standards as well as ensuring that there is compliance in the handling and management of data to regulatory requirements.
Mpudi has been at the helm of the Transformation department since April 2020, as part of the Bank’s drive towards greater innovation, the transformation workstream to cuts across the entire business. Before she was confirmed as the substantive, she was acting in the role for about a year. “My primary objective was to set up the Transformation function from the ground up and to capacitate it from a resourcing point of view, as well as set up guiding policies and a standards framework for the function. Before heading up the Transformation area, I spent the bulk of my career, being about 14 years, in the project management space. Both of these roles have been extremely fulfilling because I seldom have to do the same thing twice – the choices in role fit me perfectly in that I find I don’t do well in routine and repetitive work. I do well very with moving parts – new challenges and tasks each day I can submerge myself in fully,” said Mpudi.
Mpudi and her team are responsible for the management of strategic projects as well as for provision that any changes and initiatives are wholly aligned to the Bank’s strategy and standards. One such example of a key strategic project is the recent upgrade of the core banking system earlier this year in order to accelerate the digital transformation journey and unlock new capabilities for clients. In addition, Mpudi revealed that soon some of the functionalities will be available to our clients in the next few months. These are all part and parcel of the strategic move into becoming a future-ready platform business.
“It’s an incredibly demanding but equally rewarding mandate and I am really passionate about what we do here in the Transformation unit and indeed looking at where this business is going,” added Mpudi. When it comes to the customer insights and trends that have influenced Mpudi’s strategic posture and approach, she explains that customers have moved to mobile and digital and, as a result, they continue to sharpen their skills and capabilities to respond to this emerging customer needs.
In addition, Mpudi noted, “Our future skills focus mean extensive training and readiness to adapt for the bank of the future in this new and dynamic environment. Over and above that, there is an increasing need for personalised service and to this end we have ensured that we have Data Science, Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence (AI) as well as Robotics and Automation Skills constantly being invested in, learned and worked on. All these skills enable us to better understand our customer at a personal level and to respond to their needs and wants in an efficient and consistent manner. Our customers are at the heart of who we are and what we do, and so customer-centricity and a firm focus on customer experience remain at the core of our efforts as we work to transform our customers’ dreams into lasting realities in line with our Purpose, Botswana is our home and we drive her growth, and indeed in the spirit of our It Can Be proposition.”
Since the pandemic started, emphasis on digital banking has shifted the Bank’s thinking and way of doing business. According to Mpudi, Stanbic Bank has fortunately had digital capabilities for some years now, but the pandemic has forced everyone including themselves to accelerate the delivery of digital capabilities and solutions, with more customer-focused functionalities. “Due to COVID-19, we have been actively engaging and migrating our customers to digital channels where they can pretty much do almost everything that can be done in a branch; we will continue to engage, educate and migrate our customers to new digital capabilities that add value and convenience for them as we work to change and transform their lives and help them in their growth journeys. I encourage and urge any of our customers that are still not on digital channels to contact the Bank and we will facilitate the process,” explained Mpudi.
As Transformation, Mpudi and her team manage the delivery of strategic initiatives and therefore provide project management services to any projects including digital projects. On proactive basis, they provide data insights on the right and appropriate digital channels for each customer. Not every digital channel fits every customer and it is important to engage on the right digital channel. The team is always available to advise customers accordingly and support them every step of the way as they walk into a brighter, more digitised future.
When asked about the inspiration behind Stanbic Bank’s commitment to the digitalisation and financial empowerment of its clients across the country, Mpudi said, “Botswana is our home, we drive her growth – that is our Purpose as an organisation and it is what drives us every day. Digitisation speaks to this Purpose in that it allows us to reach all the corners of this country without the limitation one might find with a physical branch. It is about access, inclusion and convenience, and this is what we focus on with the customer experience at the core.”
Speaking on women empowerment, Stanbic Bank has been deliberate and unapologetic about the HeForShe agenda, its support for gender parity remains a core focus even at leadership level; in fact, it is a core aspect of the inclusive diversity agenda. There are a number of programmes that are geared to ensure that the playing is levelled and to unearth talented women and propel them to leadership positions, including the transformation team and indeed at management level.
Mpudi further shared that for the last two years, Stanbic Bank has been more intentional in bringing this to life through a number of initiatives, including but not limited to the Ignite Leadership Circle series; the Blue Sheroes Womens’ Network Forum, and most recently with the launch of Her Story Women Leadership Development Programme, this is with a view towards ensuring they “Connect. Inform. Develop.” The Forum gives women at the Bank an opportunity to achieve their professional and personal goals and ultimately, add value to themselves, the Bank and their communities. Impressively, she is a beneficiary of the Ignite Leadership Circle and Mpudi highlighted that had she not been exposed to the programme then she wouldn’t be where she is today.
Looking at the long-term financial solutions that Stanbic Bank has for the youth and women, Mpudi revealed that the Bank has the Stanbic Bank Accelerate Incubator that has been set up with the sole mandate to support the youth in terms of employability and entrepreneurship. It brings the Bank’s Social, Environmental and Economic (SEE) strategic value driver to life in working to create shared value for communities. The facility incubates graduates, youth startups, innovators. She added, “I encourage and urge anybody who fits the above to visit Accelerate Incubator located at Fairgrounds Mall. To date, we have seen a number of strategic collaborations, and initiatives, come to life through Accelerate, as we channel the majority of our SEE investment here. We have actually flighted an Expression of Interest to onboard local youth startup companies to be on the Stanbic Bank Procurement system. I encourage citizen and youth owned businesses to respond to the ask and get involved in all opportunities that arise.”
For Mpudi, given the COVID-19 pandemic, it has become more imperative for individuals and families to manage their finances more cautiously. It is on the back of this that she and team have developed an exciting solution for clients to help them to manage their finances prudently. The solution allows clients to get insights on their expenditure and allow them to better budget and manage their income. However, this has not gone to market yet, but the solution will be launched in phases starting this June. The Bank will continue to deploy more functionality to this tool to make managing personal finances a little easier. This is a key part of how the team works to leverage data insights to inform more innovative, relevant and value-adding solutions and advisory to customers.
With this ever-changing landscape of banking, Mpudi advised aspiring professionals to be open minded about possibilities. “We live in a world where one can become anything as long as you have the aptitude to learn and an attitude to put in the work. I know it sounds cliché, but attitude will really open doors for you – don’t be afraid to knock on the doors. No matter the industry you choose, or the vocation you aim to work in, be deliberate in all that you do,” concluded Mpudi.