Growth and Prosperity
Writer: Matthew Staff
Project Manager: Stuart Parker
As one of the world’s most renowned financial operators, Barclays is inevitably a market leader across all of its key parameters in Tanzania, but its primary ambitions for the country extend far wider than the confines of its bank branches.
Formulating an all-encompassing aid to the country’s population, its financial services serve as a platform for a host of national enrichment and corporate social responsibility initiatives that the business has taken upon itself to instil across the region.
And while the benefits of these solutions are being seen comprehensively, nationwide, they derive from an expertise and portfolio that remains unrivalled on nearly all fronts.
“We have best in-class digital channels working on a wide range of platforms from a generic feature phone, to smartphones/tablets and intelligent ATMs. We give our customers 24-seven access to their money and banking services,” says the Company’s Managing Director, Abdi Mohamed. “We also now offer foreign exchange ‘over the counter products’ through a world-class trading platform called BARX Africa, free of charge!
“This offers clients 24-hour execution, automated risk management, automated confirmation and - with in-house trade booking platforms - automated trade booking, audit trails and settlement where appropriate.”
Services are backed up by the best stability/uptime rates in the market - currently operating at 98 percent across its ATM estate and 99 percent on its digital platforms - while recent times has also seen the introduction of multiple investment options; a first in the market.
“We have also introduced multiple investment options to our customers including upfront and regular interest fixed deposits which is another first in-market. On the transactional banking side we have rolled out the first Dollar Debit Card,” Abdi adds.
Multiple credit options in the retail domain, as well as foreign exchange products on both basic and hedging fronts offer further examples of the ever-evolving Barclays remit in Tanzania; and with a current national saturation of 16 branches, 54 ATMs and 65,000 customers, the extent of the Company’s influence in the country is only set to increase more moving forward.
“We continue to offer a full and integrated range of products and services to our customers and our customers can be just as confident doing business with us today as they have always been,” Abdi states. “In the coming months we will be opening two new state-of-the-art branches, one in the city of Dar es Salaam and another in the region of Morogoro.
“These openings align to our strategy and reflect our commitment to placing the customer at the heart of all we do.”
Customers achieve their ambitions
Barclays Bank Tanzania (BBT) Limited has been operating in the country for the past 16 years, reopening its doors in 2000, 33 years after its initial foray in the nation was halted by a nationalisation of the Group.
However, “Barclays now has 16 branches, 54 ATMs strategically located countrywide, more than 500 employees and more than 65,000 customers”, Abdi picks up. “Barclays is fully committed to serving the Tanzanian market and we are very optimistic about the business opportunities that are available here.”
Over the past few years, substantial investments into technology, new products and its branch network have epitomised this ethos in regards to the ways its customers are served; monitoring feedback continuously to respond to areas of need while also monitoring market trends to meet the needs of an emerging market.
“Banking clients continue to be more price-sensitive, especially those accessing the market’s products and that tend to gravitate to opportunities for cheap FX liquidity and convenience,” Abdi explains. “Through BARX - our world-class trading platform - we offer cheaper and more secure processing for clients.
“As cost saving will continue to be a big challenge, with clients managing returns, BBT intends to help clients manage costs of financing and trading through its Risk Management Hedging Products (RMP) offering.
“Our promise is to help our customers achieve their ambitions, in the right way. We are keen to ensure that we provide customers with solutions that they need during the prevailing times. That way, we remained focused on our commitment.”
Every continuous improvement strategy is driven with a personal element in mind, whether by its aforementioned customers, its stakeholders, or even by its employees; with each facet having a positive knock-on effect on the next.
From a customer perspective, its service has improved dramatically as a result of its paperless banking roll-out, as well as improved uptime across its ATMs, and enhanced operational capabilities to include non-banked clients in order to scale-up the business aggressively in the coming years.
And underpinning each new incentive and market research-driven update, is a team of loyal employees repaying the dedication shown to them by the Company.
“Human capital is among our key priorities across both our short and long-term agendas,” Abdi emphasises. “It is the deliberate policy of the Bank to ensure our employees grow their career here through various training and development programmes inside and outside the country, tailored with a robust succession plan.
“To enhance staff career development we always offer opportunities to internal talents before we go outside to the labour market. It is our passion to see people growing and this is among our key retention strategies apart from our range of indirect and direct benefits offered.”
And while the majority of employees are given the opportunity to experience the wider Barclays world in neighbouring African countries, the core of its domestic team are comprised of local talent; a purposely driven statistic that fits within the Company’s overall corporate social responsibility culture.
Abdi says: “Demonstrating our commitment to recruiting and developing local talent to senior management positions, the Bank has reduced the number of expatriates from 17 in 2009 to two now, replacing the vacancies with local staff.
“The Bank is also currently running its ‘Graduate Development Program’, aiming to groom quality future leaders for the business. The programme is being implemented in partnership with Deloitte and more than US$100,000 is invested into this programme every year, with a key focus on local fresh graduates.”
Stimulating growth and prosperity
Outside of the Bank’s internal structure, the same commitment to personal enrichment continues, taking the Company full circle - past the new innovations and continuous investments - back to its primary goals of empowering Tanzania.
“We believe a business can only be successful if it connects positively and creates value with the society in which it operates,” Abdi enthuses to this end. “When our customers and clients do well, so do we. When the communities where we live and work thrive, we do too. And when society prospers, we all do.”
Charitable initiatives under the banner of a shared agenda subsequently include the use of core assets and resources to grow and develop the societies in which it operates; across areas of education, enterprise development, and financial inclusions.
Abdi continues: “For Barclays, the focus for shared growth is in those areas which will aid in solving some of the most pressing societal challenges that Tanzania is facing. Some of these include a lack of access to employment opportunities and quality education, and a shortage of affordable innovative financial services.
“The work of stimulating growth and prosperity is particularly important now that the difficulties faced by major economies are having an increasingly adverse effect on Tanzania. With a target of empowering more than 3,350 youths in 2016 alone, now is the time to remain focused and use our resources and talents wisely for the benefit of our communities, our people and stakeholders.”