Our feature this week brings Marketing and Communications Specialist, Boga Chilinde-Masebu, First National Bank Botswana Communications and Public Relations Manager. She speaks to Business Reporter, Lame Modise about her journey to heading one of the biggest departments in one of the country’s fastest growing banks, the changing world of banking as well as the digital bug that will eventually bring about the fourth industrial revolution.
• Kindly share a bit about your professional life (where you have worked, and in what capacity)
• I started my career in 2007 as a Graduate Trainee with Botswana International Financial Services Centre and later held positions of Corporate Communications Officer and Corporate Communications Executive respectively within the same organisation. I later joined Botswana Investment and Trade Centre as a Corporate Communications Manager before joining Orange Botswana as a Public Relations and Foundation Manager. I have also worked as a Communications Officer at Corporate Interactions, seconded within BCL Mine Marketing and Communications department. During the early stages of my career, I was a trainee at Debswana Orapa and Letlhakane Mines Corporate Affairs and BTCL doing Public Relations and Marketing Communications between 2005 and 2006.
• What does your job at FNBB entail?
• I’m currently the Communications and Public Relations Manager at First National Bank Botswana, where I’m responsible for the corporate brand image and reputation management of the Bank (including RMB and WesBank Divisions) as well as managing both internal and external communication and the Bank’s crisis management processes.
As part of external communication, I’m tasked with guiding, advising and managing stakeholder engagement process to help the business achieve its objectives and build a strong reputation and beneficial relationships. On the internal side I’m responsible for driving effective internal communications and packaging the corporative narrative to help align FNB staff values, objectives and culture to build a spirit of patriotism and brand ambassadorship amongst FNB employees.
• How do you do this?
• To achieve these, I work with a team of young vibrant professionals to package and disseminate FNBB’s narrative through media and public relations management, corporate publications, website, sponsorships, events and social media to highlight the Bank’s shared value creation.
• What would you say are some of the challenges you face as a professional in your field of work?
• There have been several significant changes and new trends that keep emerging since I joined the industry over 10 years ago, however I don’t consider these challenges. I see these advancements as a window of opportunity for me to keep learning, to keep growing and to keep doing better. For example, the advent of social media, the 4th industrial revolution and increased mobile internet and internet penetration in Botswana have led to the increase or introduction of diverse and dynamic communication platforms, and changed the way people consume, receive and share information. People live on the go and their gadgets are a source of information. Controlling corporate messages and narrative has become crucial and needs to be quicker and consistent.
• What does this mean to you as a corporate communicator?
• It means that I need to move with the change and find new ways of ensuring that the brand is constantly in touch with its customers, providing information, monitoring what customers are saying and responding to questions and addressing crisis situations promptly. This also means that, corporate communicators must literally follow customers wherever they are, and social media, mobile phones and the internet have proven to be effective in reaching out to customers this way. And what I like about this is that it’s easy to pick up customer’s sentiments and perceptions on your brand which makes it much quicker to strategise around shaping or influencing those perceptions.
Technology in banking
• FNBB is pushing towards clients using the banks digital platforms, what informed this decision?
• FNBB’s customer promise is HELP, which is translated through our desire to offer convenience, provide financial inclusion, to drive easy access to banking services, ensure security of customers’ money and fulfil every changing need of each of our customers as well as give customers more than just banking but an experience. We have come to recognise that technology and innovation are the best tools to achieve such, which is why we have developed digital platforms to revolutionise the way financial services are being delivered and accessed.
These digital platforms are much more convenient, secure and allow us to give more to our customers through an ecosystem of service providers who offer essential household and lifestyle needs when needed the most. At the click of a button, customers can bank seamlessly and pay for different services at the comfort of their homes or office and send money to their loved ones who don’t even have bank accounts. These platforms have made banking easier on the go and allows customers to enjoy the full banking experience outside bank operating hours.
• Are we going to see FNBB services in the future become fully digitised?
• The 4th industrial revolution is a reality that can no longer be ignored. This revolution continues to radically transform human interactions, human behaviours and economies, how we live, work and even study. The banking and financial services industry is no exception. Adoption of the 4th industrial revolution globally by mankind means a total change of expectations and conception of new needs across all spheres of life which must be met.
• How is the banking sector supposed to meet these needs?
• To meet some of these needs, the banking industry must evolve to digitise and automate the banking processes and systems and overhaul the entire banking experience to create more intimate customer interactions. Now this is what we call bank of the future! We’re talking automation and artificial intelligence for better efficiencies and an enjoyable banking experience, where people won’t have to necessarily visit a bank to open a bank account, transact or access credit facilities. This is expected to provide sheer superior customer experience. So, I would say yes, this is the future of FNBB and we are not too far from that future. We have a robust “bricks to clicks” strategy which is far ahead in terms of implementation. Already we have a suite of digital banking platforms which account to 90% of FNBB transactions, some of which include mobile banking FNB App, online banking and an online self-service platform for cross-border transactions that we recently introduced. So, we will see a completely different type banking in the future and where are ready to embrace the change and take our customers along.
• There is a looming worry that technology is replacing human capital in all sectors of the economy, what is the bank doing to ensure that the fourth industrial revolution does not disrupt the human capital force in the bank?
• First National Bank of Botswana has been an important socio-economic contributor during its 28 years in Botswana, currently employing almost 1600 citizens, who have been active participants in sustaining the country’s economy and supporting their families. And, mind you, the 4th industrial revolution was designed by people just like us to help facilitate efficiencies in enhancing human life experiences. So, to us, 4th industrial revolution is certainly not about human vs technology, but it’s about bringing the two together to improve efficiencies, high performance and innovation to create the ultimate unforgettable banking experience. Though it’s possible that some jobs may be impacted, it is expected that some new ones will be created and some will even grow bigger.
• How does your particular bank intend to achieve this?
• Were excited about the future because this will expose our staff to new digital technologies and processes. We aim to train our staff on these technological skills so they can be digitally savvy and be able to operate these new technologies. FNBB will conduct skills assessment amongst staff to align them with the future banking trends and where there are identified skills gap, the plan is to up skill staff so they can work in harmony with the new technologies.
• What career advice can you give a young aspiring banker?
• “Prepare for the bank of the future!”
They must prepare for automated and virtual banks which will be available 24 hours, flexible and accessible from anywhere. I would also advise them to learn a lot about how the 4th industrial revolution can be implemented in the banking industry and align themselves with the requisite skills.
• How would one then need to get prepared?
• They’d need to learn skills of the future such as artificial intelligence, robotics, problem solving and adopt an entrepreneurial approach to life and work. Another important skill of the future is agility, so that they can keep up with the pace of change.
FNBB pricing structure
• The bank early this year increased its in-branch service fees by three percent and reduced some of its fees on digital services such as the now free of Charge swiping, what informed this decision?
• Swiping is now free for all personal accounts debit cards. This is one of the ways in which we encourage our customers to use digital platforms as opposed to withdrawing money. It’s also a safer method of performing transactions.
• What other persuasive methods is the bank looking at in getting people to use digital platforms over going to a brick and mortar bank?
• As part of our customer digital migration strategy, FNBB provides Wi-Fi across all its branches to allow customers to download the FNB banking App. Moreover, some of our branches have self-service stations with laptops and computers where our Service teams assist clients to register for online banking.
FNBB has also introduced Cashback Rewards loyalty programme that rewards customers with cash paid into their Savings Pocket for swiping and performing digital transactions such as eWallet, Pay2Cell, online banking, FNB App, and Forex online instead of going in to the branch.
The Savings Pocket is a free innovative account created for customers to receive their loyalty rewards and save their change (“left over” Thebes) each time they Swipe their FNB debit card. When customers swipe, the system automatically rounds up their change which is then transferred to customer’s Savings Pocket free of charge, of which customers can use later for any of their needs.
Women in the workplace
• What would you say is the place of women in the work place with reference to the banking industry?
• I believe that women have every right and capability to work wherever they want and I’m elated to say I see a lot of strong women making strides in the financial services industry, with some of them being CEOs. Just to bring it to closer to home, FNB has 62% representation of women in Executive Management and over 1000 women employed by the bank. Also, the immediate former FNBB CEO was a woman.
• One would argue that not many women can make it in the corporate banking world, what is your take on that?
• This is just an unfortunate gender stereotype. I strongly believe that women also rightfully belong in the corporate world and anywhere else where there are opportunities to make an impact and banking is one such area. And for me it’s amazing that I have been privileged to be mentored by women who are making it big in the corporate world. That’s why we need to teach our children that they can choose any career they want, follow their passion and dreams then work hard at that.
• What are you most proud of in being a part of the FNBB staff?
• 2019 has been yet another good year for the Bank. We received two accolades from the world’s best financial publications being Euromoney Magazine and Global Finance Magazine. FNBB received an award for Best Bank in Botswana at the Euromoney Awards for Excellence Awards for the 3rd time in a row. According to Euromoney, which has been leading globally credible publication covering growth in the financial for 50 years, “Euromoney’s Awards for Excellence are the awards that matter to the banks and bankers who matter”. It’s such an honor to be counted among the banks that matter as testament to our 3rd consecutive win of the award. We believe that our people, our customers, our culture and passion for innovation and hunger for excellence has helped us win this award. Another accolade we bagged this year is of “Best Foreign Exchange (Forex) Provider in Botswana” awarded at the 19th annual World’s Best FX Provider Awards for 2019, hosted by Global Finance Magazine, also for the 3rd consecutive year. This just goes to show how FNBB is committed to excellence in cross border transactions, innovation and customer experience.
Full Name: Boga Chilinde-Masebu
Marital status: Married
Hobbies: Reading, crossword puzzles and interior design
Book Currently Reading: ‘The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth’ by John C Maxwell