“We only have 12 branches but with more than 150,000 customers in that environment. We have been able to use alternative platforms of distributions, technology and innovation of FNB which was voted the most innovative bank in the world,” said Sizwe Nxasana chief executive officer of First Rand Limited.
[DATA FSR:First Rand limited] is a South African base financial service group and First National Bank (FNB) is a banking division within the group.
“We are always on the lookout for opportunities but our preference is always to build-up businesses in different countries as it gives us opportunities to understand the market very deeply and to come up with alternative ways of offering financial services in that market,” he said.
(READ MORE:S.Africa’s FirstRand continues to see strong headline growth)
Zambia is no exception FNB was established in Zambia five years ago and is looking to establish innovating banking which will grow with the Zambian economy.
“We have already invested just over a 133 million US dollars in Zambia just over the five years we’ve been [there],” said Nxasana.
According to Nxasana exceeding the 100 million dollars banking investment regulation for foreign services entering the Zambian banking market portrays FNB’s commitment to grow with the Zambian economy.
“We are paying a lot of attention into growing the retail banking presence in Zambia. We are banking people in the low bottom end of the market,” he said.
FNB is focussing on growing retail banking by targeting the under banked in Zambia as strategy to reach new markets and grow the economy.
However they will diversify their focus and cater for larger establishments as well.
“We are focussing on the commercial space as well which includes supporting small and medium enterprises in Zambia and large corporates, infrastructure, agriculture and real estate,” said Nxasana.
(READ MORE:Banking and telecoms on the path of convergence)
In 2013, the African Development Bank approved a loan of 150 million US dollars to finance a refurbishment of the Maamba coal mine and the development of a 300MW coal-fired power plant to supply electricity.
FNB has offered various products for this development and opening banking opportunities for foreign investors in Zambia.
“Mining is growing nicely, the government is expecting an increase in the infrastructure and retail. China is growing and is investing in retail and coal growth [in Zambia],” he said.
FNB will continue their strategy to build businesses organically and acquire opportunities that emerge to fit in with their business model to promote inclusive growth and allow SME’s and large companies to expand.
BY: THANDO MATUTU