The Botswana Savings Bank (BSB) has now embraced innovation by introducing Visa debit cards and automated teller machines (ATMís) that will allow customers to perform cash deposits.
This follows a merger between BSB, Botswana Post and Sprint Couriers and Logistics, which operate as subsidiaries of Botswana Postal and Savings Group.
Through the amalgamation, the bank will have direct access to the postal network, which management say will potentially gives it the opportunity to build the widest banking network in the country.
Currently, the bank has a total of four ATMs countrywide, two at BSB head office and one at Rail Park Mall and one at the BSB Francistown branch.
BSB board chair, Juliana White said the merged entities still have separate mandates to provide services to all communities within Botswana and do operate effectively in a very competitive environment.
“It is on the backdrop of this relationship that BSB has access to over 120 post offices countrywide through which it offers its products and services to its customers,” she added. White said customers used the passbook as means to access and deposit funds into their accounts adding that this model has served the bank so well especially in mobilising savings.
Overtime, White said the bank transformed to offer other products such as loans. She said for a long time, the bank only offered small personal loans against a position of their savings balance. The bank also administered the government GEMVAS scheme for purchase of vehicles and property
“According to the latest statistics, the number of unbanked adults, stands at 55 percent which is a situation that we, as the government would like to see reduced drastically. I am convinced it is also in your interest as bankers to serve the unbanked population,” he said.
He added that this is a clear demonstration that BSB is not only moving at speed to embrace digital banking but, it is constantly working at wowing potential customers by launching new innovative products.
According to Mabeo, the majority of urban and peri-urban population are generally catered for by commercial banks while the majority of the rural population remains unbanked adding that this is not withstanding the fact that 70 percent of BSB market is in rural areas.
“It is therefore, expedient for the Bank to react to special needs of these customers who are largely within the low-income bracket.”Plans are at afoot to open branches, complete with ATM channels, in Mahalapye and Serowe. More villages will be covered as the bank spreads out into the hinterlands of Botswana .