Stanbic Zambia Corporate Affairs Head explains ‘Women’s Value Proposition’ at Africa SME Finance Forum in Kenya

IFC Womens Banking Specialist - Gillette Conor (left), Stanbic Zambia Head Corporate Affairs – Chanda Chime Katongo (mid left), Bank of Pichincha Vice President - Cristina Gonzalez (right)

Zambia’s premier business news provider the Zambia Business Times caught up with Chanda Chime Katongo the Stanbic Bank Zambia Corporate Affairs Head at the Africa SME Finance forum in Nairobi. This is what she had to share about the women value proposition that led to the birth of the Anakazi banking program for women.

Stanbic Bank has been in Zambia for more than 60 years and is the biggest bank in terms of asset size in Africa’s second largest copper producer. Stanbic’ s existence in Kenya spans 107 years which makes me feel very much at home in terms of brand presence. About 10 years ago in 2008 the Industrial Commercial Bank of China – ICBC acquired 20% in the Standard Bank group. As most of you know ICBC is the biggest bank in the world in terms of asset size.

Zambia is predominantly a mining driven economy and as most of you will know that Zambia is the 2nd largest copper producer in Africa. As Stanbic bank, what we have done is build a brand that is a trusted partner in driving of the Zambian economy. We have been a key player in a number of economic growth sectors ranging from mining and energy to infrastructure and most importantly the Small to Medium Enterprise – SME sector.

But what we have noticed is there is a success story in a particular class of the SME sector and that is women. At the opening of this forum, we heard from the Central Bank Governor of Kenya – Mr. Patrick Njoroge, how he spent quite a bit of time speaking about women entrepreneurs in Kenya. He spoke about how these women are waking up early in the morning to ensure that their businesses are successful. That story cuts across South Central parts of Africa – Zambia inclusive – where women are working extra hard to ensure success of their businesses.

Chanda Chime Katongo pauses with key note speakers of the Africa SME Finance Forum in Nairobi.

The value proposition unveiled

A study that was done is South Africa revealed that 78% of female run businesses that are very successful compared to the 69% of those run by men. And as Stanbic bank have looked internally and at our books to realize that in our personal space only 26.7% of our account holders were women. This then provided an opportunity and niche that the bank capitalized on to launch a women’s market proposition. An interesting discovery was that this 26.7% had on average higher balances than men. These women were saving much more and better than the men.

We also realized that this niche also had a much lower no of non-performing loans – NPLs compared to men which compelled us to tap into the women’s financial market. We then reached out to our Central Bank – The Bank of Zambia – which has been driving financial inclusion in Zambia particulary for women. Zambia has a population of 17 million and 51% of this number are women but we knew that a number of them are not banked, therein emerged an opportunity for us. We worked very close with the central bank which then introduced us to key strategic partners that we have worked with over the past few years to launch our women’s banking proposition to then become the first bank in Zambia to be part of the Global Banking Alliance for women. They GBA then introduced us to the International Finance Corporation – IFC who have been very helpful as they were on the ground way before we even launched the women’s banking proposition. The IFC guided and helped us gather insights that strengthened our CVP for the women folk. We launched the women’s banking proposition last year in March (2017) and though we are still taking baby steps in it, we have been recognized a number of times by the Central Bank and the Government of Zambia in terms of the strides that we have taken so far to grow the women’s banking proposition in Zambia.

In terms of our customer value proposition we focus primarily on knowledge which is our first priority. We also realized that women looked for convenience and to that effect we started to offer convenient banking and access to finance which has become the core of our customer value proposition.

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