Nixon Marumoloa is a well-rounded banking executive –boosting of 22 years banking experience that has seen him hold strategic roles in listed local commercial banks and development finance institutions. His current call is to transform Botswana Savings Bank (BSB) into a robust and highly profitable operation as its CEO. He proclaims with great assurance – ‘Watch the space!’
Before coming to Botswana Savings Bank (BSB), kindly reflect on your journey in the financial services sector?
NIXON: I am a Career Banker. Subsequent to my B.A. Degree studies at UB, I joined the Africa Graduate Training Programme (A.G.T.P) at Standard Chartered Bank, where I did my Management Development Programme (MDP) (training) in over 2 years. Through this journey, I did a bit of training/working stints in Zimbabwe and Ghana. I have also been on various Executive Management Training arranged by Wits University, University of Pretoria Business School, Henley Business School, Damelin School of Banking as well as various other business trainings in various other Institutions over the last 23 years. Professionally, I have been exposed to everything there is to do in Banking, at least in our local market, as per below: started as a Accounts relationship officer at Standard Chartered Bank, then joined Barclays as Corporate Manager and elevated to senior Corporate Manager before becoming Corporate Credit Manager in the Risk department; joined BancABC as Relationship Manager – Trade Finance Department; joined BSB as Operations Manager; and became Head of Services and later Regional Manager at CEDA before re-joining BSB to become its CEO.
How long have you been at the helm of things at BSB?
NIXON: Two years this coming March 2020.
As the man at the helm of BSB – what is your vision for the bank in the face of tough competition from more established international brands?
NIXON: We are not going to clone any other existing Bank. We are working on a carefully calculated digitization journey that will see us utilizing technology more efficiently to provide low banking services. This has been done before, if one looks at Capitec Bank in South Africa. Zero bank in South Africa etc. The major difference between us and say Capitec, Zero Banking and other Fintech Banks is that they do not provide for Brick & Mortar Branches. As BSB, we will still have our brick & mortar branches, but we will reach other customers through Channels such as:-VISA ATMS – which will eventually be depositing taking and cash transfer ATMs; POS Machines, through more than 130 places countrywide – also providing cash transfers capabilities, deposit-taking as well as normal ‘swiping’ functionalities; Electronic Banking, Mobile Banking etc.
What is the direction that the organisation is taking under your leadership?
NIXON: More branches – five new branches by December 2020; Digital Bank – 360 degree turn in terms of digital capabilities; doubling of profitability and creating more value for shareholder, and lastly; Building a Leading Transactional Bank in Botswana.
You launched a new strategy aimed at putting the customer first, please share with us details of that strategy and how exactly the company is planning to implement it?
NIXON: Increasing our branches means we will increasingly deal with our client directly, as opposed to using Agency Banking Services. We have introduced 12-hour Turnaround Times for some of our loan products. We are in the processes of doing away with passbooks, so as to provide clients with real-time, transactional banking experiences. The real/major impact will however be felt after our ICT/Digitization journey has been completed.
How will the strategy position BSB differently and ahead of its competitors?
NIXON: Already we lead in terms of outreach and banking footprint in Botswana. With improved ICT/Digital Channels, we will be able to provide all our services real time to all our clients countrywide.
Can you share how BSB performed in the past financial year. What milestones has BSB celebrated in the past 12 months?
NIXON: BSB increased profitability. Increase in Brick & Mortar Branches (New Branch opened in September 2019 in Hukuntsi). Palapye Branch will be opening in June 2020 while Gumare Branch will also to open shortly. Financial Inclusion: New VISA ATMs launched in previously unbanked and underbanked places like Old Naledi & Bokaa. Increase in Service Channels: New ATMs launched in Mogoditshane & Gabane.
What are the new, exciting and innovative products/services that we can look forward to from BSB?
NIXON: We have just finished testing our new POS (Point of Sale) offering. This is a totally new paradigm shift for BSB and our BSB branches in Hukuntsi, Rail Park, Tshomarelo Branch, Mahalapye, Serowe & Francistown now have POS capabilities; During 2020/1, we will roll our POS to at least 130 places countrywide; During 2020/1, we are rolling out our new, exciting Internet Banking platforms, Bill; Payment Platforms as well as a new Core Banking System!
You are singing a Memorandum of Understanding with the Botswana Primary Teachers Union (BOPRITU). What does this MOU deal entail?
NIXON: The MOU entails providing BOPRITU members with Personal Loans, initially at P300 000 max but from end of March 2020 we are increasing the limit to BWP500 000. For BOPRITU members, they are getting affordable rates, pre agreed with BSB. For BOPRITU members, they are also getting Relationship Management from key Management from BSB. In the next two months, we will be providing BOPRITU members with affordable Housing Schemes/Loans, and Affordable Motor Vehicle Loans; we are also looking at providing BOPRITU members with affordable group Savings Schemes, as well as Financial Literacy Training.
Financial institutions have adopted new technologies to accommodate the unbanked masses who do not have bank accounts. Is BSB exploring this untapped market? How?
NIXON: Just this week – on the 20th of February 2020, we were opening Financial Bids of our new Core Banking System (CBS). An award to a service provider will be made by the first week of March 2020. In short, we are spending a few tens-and-tens of millions in revamping our Electronic Banking Capabilities.
BSB is operating in a ‘congested space’ dominated by international competitors in a market which has been described as small. How is the competition and uptake of your services, in view of the fact that you are ‘relatively small’ players in the local industry?
NIXON: For a population of two million, with 14 Banks in such a space, one could say Botswana is overbanked, to some extent. Unfortunately, most Banks stick to urban areas as well as the Railway line, leaving out lots of people in the rural areas. We play substantially in that area. For example, BSB is the only Bank in Hukuntsi. BSB provides the only ATM in Hukuntsi. BSB’s ATMs are in places like Letlhakeng & Old Naledi. Competition in the urban areas is of course cut-throat. Our current ICT capabilities do not make us a go-to Bank at present, which is why we are spending over BWP50m to correct this anomaly. Once we are done with our digitisation journey by the end on 2020 – I can only say one thing ‘Watch This Space!’
What is your current market share?
NIXON: Although we have the largest banking footprint in the country, our emphasis in all the past years was providing Transactional banking, where we have done very well. Our current focus now is growing our Asset Book, where we only have 5% market share, and you must understand that there are about 14 Banks in Botswana at the moment.
Why is it that some parts of the country still cannot access BSB despite that you have been in the market for a reasonable period?
NIXON: BSB, through our Agency Banking partners, actually has the largest Banking footprint in the country! We have Agency Banking partners in the likes of Seronga, Charles hill, Goodhope, Phitshane Molopo, Ralops etc. We are increasing this footprint by opening our own branches in 5 other locations.
The advent of digital platforms, social media and ICT is changing the way consumers/ clients, corporations and governments are conducting business. Do you see this as an opportunity, and how are you tapping into it?
NIXON: We see ICT and Social media as a new-world communication platform especial to the millennials and urban populace. Please make time to like the BSB Facebook page when you find time. It’s a robust communication platform that we update daily. Our website is also good, currently also planned for revamping. We are on LinkedIn, twitter etc. We do some of our ‘below the line’ pitches on social media, and rewards have been immense.
There is a huge outcry that access to credit is very difficult in Botswana, which makes it impossible for workers to accumulate wealth. How are you helping potential customers or workers in Botswana in this regard, particularly low-income workers who are in the majority?
NIXON: Access to ‘Consumer’ Credit, personal loans etc. – is very rampant in Botswana. Actually, in this space Batswana are over-borrowed in general. Most Financial Institutions prefer to play in this space. Margins are good, and demand is overwhelming. Where there isn’t much pro-activity by Financial Institutions is on Wealth Creation. We will shortly assist BOPRITU members get access to affordable housing in Gaborone through a new Mortgage Scheme, which is an example of where we want to assist Batswana to create wealth. The Ministry of Finance has tasked us to come up with a new, Low Cost Transactional Banking Product, and these are solutions that are very close to the new Minister of Finance. We will launch this mid-year. We also encourage Batswana to save, through what we call out SAYE (Save As You Earn) Savings Account – where one can make a Stop Order to BSB to save (monthly) from as little as P50.00 a month.
How is BSB giving back to the community, as your Corporate Social Investment (CSI)?
NIXON: We have a CSR Policy that envisages us being responsible Corporate Citizens. In the last few years we have confined ourselves mostly to the educational space, and have had CSR activities aimed at schools in the Northeast area of Botswana, schools like Nanogang CJSS, Schools in Shoshong, Hukuntsi area etc.
FULL NAME : Nixon Marumoloa
EDUCATION/ QUALIFICATIONS: Bachelor of Arts (UB); Insurance Qualifications; currently studying for an MBA
FAMILY : Married to Bodutu Marumoloa. Bodutu is also a Banker, and is
currently a Bank Manager at a local Commercial Bank.
HOBBY : I am an avid off-road camper. I try to see as much as possible of
our beautiful country, and have camped in places like CKGR, Khutse, Trans Frontier Park, Moremi Game Reserve, Aha Hills, Tsodilo Hills etc.
A lot of Botswana do not create time to appreciate their own country which is sad. I also read a lot and have in the last few years contracted the middle-age disease of weekend farming.
BOOK CURRENTLY READING : (Re-reading) a book by the late, renowned theoretical Physist and
Cosmologist Stephen Hawking ‘A Brief History of Time’