- Digital platforms prove a solid investment
- Sarumoney, FastCash singled out for special mention
- Access Bank acknowledges foundation built by BancABC
Access Bank has reported that non-interest revenue achieved impressive double-digit growth of 14 percent to P139.3 million in 2021.
The solid performance was ascribed to a robust foreign exchange income performance and improvement in the revenues earned from the bank’s digital platforms such as Sarumoney and digital products such as the FastCash cashless withdrawal, Point of Sale terminals and better fee collection in the year.
According to the bank’s officials, the growth garnered from these platforms proved that the investment made to-date is in the right direction. The bank was formerly known as BancABC and owned by Atlas Mara which exited the market and transferred its majority holding (78.15 percent) effective 11th October 2021. BancABC listed on the Botswana Stock Exchange Limited (BSE) in 2018 with an aim to raise funds to improve its infrastructure, especially technology.
Access Bank finance director Ratang Icho-Molebatsi said the improvement in non-interest revenue shows that the strategies “we have been implementing have had some positive yields”. She noted: “We are starting to see the growth of non-interest revenue which we want to get to.” When the bank listed, it had said it needed funds to improve technology in order to become a full service bank. “Our technology needed an upgrade and this meant that both the core banking and card infrastructure had to be upgraded,” said Icho-Molebatsi.
As she unpacked what Access Bank will be doing this year, the foundation that the former owners of the bank laid became clear. As MD Kgotso Bannalotlhe likes to put it, Access Bank is what BancABC aspired to be. “Our product was also another area where post-listing we put a lot of focus on,” Icho-Molebatsi said, noting that this included “our very proud Sarumoney, which is our retail banking application”. This was a great improvement to mobile banking for the business.
The bank also continued to look into corporate business platforms and rolled out point of sale machines. Icho-Molebatsi said these resulted in enhanced customer experience. “We introduced credit cards (as) a key improvement of our retail product suite,” she said, adding that they recently introduced instant card issuance. The strategy has always been to grow non-interest revenue. Although she noted that the bank continues to have a significant portion of fees coming from lending-related activities, in the past year Access Bank saw digital revenue increase by 101 percent and trading revenue by 14 percent.
“It has been building over the years and we literally started from scratch. We are still going up,” she told the media, adding that cash and liquidity fees are coming down because of growth in the digital space and customers moving there. Transactional volumes and value for all of the bank’s digital platforms have gone up year-on-year at around 14 percent and 30 percent respectively, she said.
Interest income reduced marginally by 2 percent compared to the prior year. The reduction was attributed to interest rate cuts experienced in late 2020 as well as increased interest expense as a result of higher deposit pricing. This was offset partially by the overall loan book increase year-on-year. Net Interest Income reduced by 5 percent compared to the year prior.