CEO Today - Africa Awards 2023

22 | Malawi had decided to take a different path and thereafter placed the remaining human resources in the right places. Additionally, as the final piece of the people placement, the Bank recruited management and frontline staff that came with a cross-fertilization of skills, which, when added to the remaining team, made NBS Bank what it is today. The Bank also invested in a range of systems and re-engineered its processes to ensure that the functionality meets customer needs. The strong turnaround is attributed to strong management and governance, which ensured the implementation of initiatives such as the review of the branch network, staff compliment and cost structures; repositioning and rebranding of the NBS brand; growth of the lending business in line with economic growth; increase in digitization of processes and service delivery channels, financial inclusion, prudent money market investments and most importantly the enhancement of customers’ experience. These initiatives yielded very positive results and the turnaround has seen the Bank moving from reporting losses to declaring profits. How is NBS Bank responding to the digital revolution in banking? Can you share any recent innovations or projects? Digital transformation remains at the core of the Bank’s strategy, powering enhancements to Consumer and Corporate Banking platforms, greater customer engagement and operational efficiencies. NBS Bank has continually invested in new systems and processes and enhanced the existing ones to improve service delivery and achieve excellent customer service, including offering unique and innovative solutions and digitizing systems and processes to enable many other innovations for the customer. For instance, in 2022 the focus was on various integrations with other systems, such as the National Switch (Natswitch) Interbank transfer integration with other banks in the market to enable instant interbank transfers, thereby reducing waiting and transaction times. An integration with Malawi National Examination Board (MANEB) was done to enable examination fees to be paid across the country with ease. The Bank also integrated with more government institutions, such as the Registrar General and National Registration Bureau, to ensure that customers have a wide range of payment options when accessing various government services. The Bank digitized its retail loans to lessen the turnaround time for access as well as to offer convenience to customers. Furthermore, the Bank improved its credit model by digitizing the process to make financing more accessible to MSME’s in Malawi. Through continuous research in the global industry and creativity with what’s trending in day to day lives of customers, it is vital to always keep a close ear on what the customers are saying and look for ways to cater to their day-to-day financial needs with simplified banking solutions. We are constantly providing opportunities for our staff, across all functions, to visit more advanced economies and see and experience what is being done there and use this to develop more innovative solutions in banking. What are some of the corporate social responsibility initiatives that NBS Bank has implemented under your leadership? Our slogan is “Your Caring Bank,” and we believe in making a positive impact on the world around us. That’s why we are committed to giving back to the communities we serve. In times of disaster, NBS Bank stands strong with those in need. Recently, in the aftermath of Cyclone Freddy 2023 in Malawi, we extended a helping hand to 14 different campsites across the southern region, donating essential supplies and support. Additionally, as part of the NICO Group donation, NBS Bank contributed a significant amount of approximately $170,000 towards the relief efforts. The Bank also partnered with other organizations to rebuild houses for those that lost their homes during the cyclone. We also remember the devastation caused by Cyclone Anna in 2022 in Malawi, and NBS Bank contributed approximately $10,000 to aid the affected communities during their time of distress. NBS Bank, along with the other NICO subsidiaries, donated medical items worth MK20 million to six hospital facilities across the country to help fight the Cholera Outbreak which hit Malawi in 2022. Empowering the next generation is also a priority for NBS Bank. Through our Girls Mentorship program, we provide guidance, support, and opportunities to 20 young girls in secondary schools

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