Investment bank is working to revolutionise the concept of commercial banking in Mozambique
Mozambique is considered to be one of Africa’s successful cases as regards post-war reconstruction and economic recovery. Since the signing of the General Peace Accord in 1992, the country has been an example of political stability, making it an attractive venue for investment. Its prime setting on the eastern coast of Africa makes its ports the natural and economically most viable access to the development of trade with six countries in the southern part of the continent, in addition to being a platform for a market with more than 250 million consumers in the SADC region.
Official data on macroeconomic performance, in 2011, indicated that the country has maintained its solid growth trend of the last decade in spite of the fact that the external environment continues to be less favourable than expected. GDP is estimated to be up by around 7.2 percent, which is significantly higher than the levels of economic expansion of 6.3 percent and 6.8 percent posted in 2009 and 2010, respectively. Notwithstanding the greater risk associated with economic instability on the international scene, Mozambique’s medium-term macroeconomic outlook remains positive, with real GDP growth expected to accelerate to 7.5 percent in 2012 and to around eight percent over the medium term.
On a banking sector level, this trajectory of success and hope for the future is demonstrated by BCI; Banco Comerciale e de Investimentos’s decisive intervention as a universal bank geared to meeting its customers’ needs and value creation for its various partners.
Founded as a small investment bank in 1996 by a group of Mozambican investors, its daring, innovative business plan rapidly attracted the interest of leading international partners and culminated with equity investments by two well-established entities in the international banking business: the Portuguese Caixa Geral de Depósitos (CGD) Group, in April 1997, with an equity investment of 60 percent and the Banco Português de Investimento Group, in December 2003, based on a successful merger with Banco de Fomento (BF), which was then owned by BPI, via BCI’s assimilation of its assets. This gave the new shareholder 30 percent of the shares.
Reflecting its corporate mission of “actively contributing to Mozambique’s economic and social development, creating value and meeting the needs of its customers, shareholders, employees, partners and the community in general in a socially responsible and sustainable manner,” together with a vision of the bank as “the bank of preference of most Mozambicans and a benchmark operator for the financial system, on a level of the application of best practice, competitiveness and innovation, with the aim of being the market leader,” BCI has been the main proponent of change in the concept and roadmap of Mozambique’s banking system.
Starting from its position as an outsider – at the time of its foundation – and competing with institutions already well entrenched within the system, BCI consolidated its position as Mozambique’s second-largest bank in 2011, and is one of the top four players in the country, with the best growth figures over the last 10 years (measured by volume of deposits, credit portfolio, turnover, assets, and growth in its number of new branches.
Growth and stability
Its dynamics are clearly evidenced by operating indicators for December 2011:
- BCI increased its net income by around three percent to 940,285 million meticais (around €26m), against 916,850 million meticais in 2010;
- Net assets were up eight percent over 2010 to 50.84 billion meticais (€1.3bn);
- Financial assets totalled 3.64 billion meticais (¤100 million) with the loans and advances to customers portfolio accounting for an additional 1.88 billion meticais (€52m);
- The solvency ratio, as the main financial stability indicator, was 13.07 percent (12.26 percent in 2010), vis-à-vis the regulatory minimum of eight percent required by the Bank of Mozambique;
- Turnover was up 10 percent to 70.5 million meticais (€1.9m), particularly in retail banking in which the volume of deposits was up 35 percent to 16.69 billion meticais;
- The volume of loans and advances to customers was up 54 percent, to 6.44 million meticais, against a volume of credit of 27 percent in 2010;
- Market share of loans and advances to customers totalled 32 percent, with deposits totalling 28 percent and a 26 percent market share of assets.
This data marks a clear reflection of the investments made, particularly over the last three years, in the growth of BCI’s branch office network and improvements in the levels of penetration and service of electronic channels in Mozambique – BCI Direto (telephone), eBanking, Mobile, ATM and POS services, which have merited the trust and preference of a growing number of customers.
Innovation on the branch office network
BCI’s branch office network, at the end of 2011, had 120 sales outlets – of which 114 were universal branches and BCI Exclusivo centres for affluent customers and small businesses – and six BCI Corporate Centres (for large and medium-sized companies), following the opening of 25 units during the year (comprising growth of 26 percent over 2010). An additional five business units were opened in the first three months of 2012.
The fact that 30 percent of these sales outlets were located in rural zones reflects BCI’s commitment to the geographical expansion of the banking network, in alignment with one of the Bank of Mozambique’s priorities of continuing to expand its financial services nationwide.
The first BCI Exclusivo centre opened, in Maputo, during the course of first half 2011. This is a totally innovative concept in Mozambique’s banking market and was designed to provide a selective level of customer care/attention with customer account managers adopting a prompt, proactive approach to meeting their customers’ needs and increasing their satisfaction levels.
An additional four centres and two BCI Exclusivo spaces were opened during the course of the year, the latter of which were housed in a universal branch and performed the same functions as the centres.
In addition to its BCI Exclusivo concept, in 2011 the bank created its first Integrated Business Centre, strategically situated in Nampula province, which houses a universal branch, a BCI Corporate centre and a BCI Private space at the same location, the latter for private banking customers. BCI’s Integrated Business Centre model is also an entirely innovative concept in Mozambique in its capacity to provide banking services to all of the main market segments, perfectly attuned to the specific needs and expectations of each, enabling a more user-friendly, secure service to be provided while at the same time guaranteeing a high level of operating efficiency.
BCI is committed to the continued expansion and development of its electronic network. ATMs and POS terminals were up 34.25 percent and 80.22 percent, respectively, in 2011. This was accomplished by incentivising the issue of debit and credit cards (up 52.68 percent, to 427,358 cards).
The bank’s reinforced presence in the market was reflected in an increase of its share of the active POS market to 38.25 percent (28.26 percent in 2010), in addition to its share of the ATM market (35.81 percent in 2011 against 31.05 percent in 2010).
Increase BCI’s customer portfolio
Investment and the results achieved in terms of customer relationships were immediately reflected in an additional number of almost 148,000 new customers (up 57 percent over 2010). This largely derived from the successful policy of entering into commercial protocols with public and private institutions, begun in 2009, with 35 new agreements having been entered into with diverse institutions.
Image and brand
BCI’s highly-visible corporate image, allied with good financial performance, in community segments, derives from a systematically reinforced in-depth association between the bank and local culture and values. The O Meu Banco é Daqui ‘My Bank is from Mozambique’ slogan, which has been widely publicised in creative, high-impact advertising campaigns, has been hoisted on board by all concerned with public recognition resulting in the award of the “Best Brand in Mozambique” prize from marketing professionals operating in Mozambique.
Significant investment in the human resources area aimed at implementing expansion objectives comprised a 26 percent increase in the number of employees to a total of 1,703.
The distinctive factor characterising BCI’s human capital is youth. The fact that 86.6 percent of employees are under the age of 35, with 74.3 percent having been with the bank four years or less entails ongoing investment in improving their technical-professional expertise and values of citizenship. 352 training events involving 3,497 participations, were organised in 2011. This represented a training volume of more than 151,000 hours.
The visible reflection of such investment is the adoption of performance standards by teams, based on constant improvements to their competencies; commitment and the desire to exceed the expectations of customers and the market.
A combination of the competitive advantages herein described, the support and commitment of stakeholders, allied with the vision and competence of the bank’s management team enable the bank to look to the future with confidence and the certainty that, more than ever, the ideals of excellence and market leadership are drawing ever closer.