Manning FNBB's retail space

With over 20 years experience in the banking industry, FNBB Director-Retail, Boitumelo Mogopa’s passion for the industry remains solid.

She tells Voice Money’s KABELO ADAMSON about her journey in the cutthroat industry and what has made her stay on top of her game for over two decades.

Q. What does your role as the bank’s Retail Director entail?

A. My role as Director of Retail is to look after all the individual customers of the bank.

In other words, what we do is, we understand the needs of our customers starting from children, students, local white collar customers, put together their needs and come up with solutions, products and services that can appropriately serve those customers.

For example, if you are a youth, we have to understand where you are and come up with a solution that will best suit you.

Q. When did you join the banking industry?

A. I joined the industry about 20 years ago; I started with Barclays in 1998.

At the time I was a finance professional, I was in management accounting behind the scenes doing numbers for people who were producing the numbers.

I was mainly doing budgets and forecasts and analyzing the numbers and having commentaries to assist the business to grow.

I then moved to Standard Chartered doing the same thing, but it was while there that I realized that my passion really lies in helping customers, so I moved into business from finance and I then became a General Manger for customers with liabilities.

I enjoyed that a lot because I found that my passion really was to sit in front of a customer, to understand their needs and to help them with banking solutions, and also advise because I found that a lot of people needed a lot of advice around banking.

Soon after I left to join First National Bank Botswana (FNBB) and have been here for the last 12 years now.

This is what I have been doing ever since, except in 2012 when I went back to finance and became the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of FNBB.

I was the CFO for three years and it was quite interesting because this is during the time when the bank claimed its number one position in the banking industry.

Q. How have you found the journey so far?

A. Banking is becoming quite challenging.

As you can imagine, these days we don’t just compete with other banks.

We compete with what we call non-traditional organizations like mobile network providers, post offices and societies, so competition is so broad these days and it’s no longer about another bank.

So, that causes us to be always on point, always sharpening our swords all the time and how and where we are going to play.

FNB has become to be known as ‘a bank of firsts’.

And for a long time we have been the first to launch a number of products.

It is getting a lot more challenging now because products can be copied by the next bank, so it’s always important to say, how are we going to differentiate ourselves?

We have decided to stay with a focus of customer centricity, to say, we will compete with services.

Yes, we will launch products but we are putting forward more customer service than anything.

We have also decided to continuously educate our customers because FNB has a very big customer base, about half a million customers and are varied.

Q. Before joining this industry, where were you?

A. I am a graduate from University of Botswana which I did in 1994 and at the time we were quite fortunate because Botswana government looked for jobs for us.

Government found me a job at Botswana Housing Corporation (BHC).

But at the time as I said, I was an accountant, doing the numbers and cash books here and there.

That is where I really started my career as an Accountant.

I didn’t just stop there; I then went on to do ACCA.

Q How important is retail as a segment of the bank

A. It is a very important sector in the bank, in fact retail is the bank, I keep saying to people because it touches everyone.

You may be an MD of a company or a CFO, a child or somebody’s gardener, wherever you are in the country, it touches you at a very personal level.

So, what I found important is that, because we touch everybody at that level, we have to make sure that we are quite quick to market and also come up with products that work for our customers and be fast and efficient in our service.

The thing with customer service is, it has to be relevant to customers, it has to be quick because customer needs are very different.

We need to make sure that we are constantly innovating as well; we cannot be stand still as our customers are getting more sophisticated and therefore should move with times.

Q. Discuss the Wesbank Airshow which FNBB has been a part of for quite sometime

A. We have been sponsoring the air show for the past four years and have grown very well.

The show is quite popular because, it appeals to the whole family.

What we try to do as the bank is to come up with customer events that touch the whole family.

The show has been growing in leaps and bounds and we are quite excited about this coming one that is coming over the weekend.

Customers should look forward to a grand show.

This particular event is about brand awareness more than anything, so as you know Wesbank is part of FNB where we do asset financing.

This year we are expecting over 10, 000 spectators, 150 pilots, an increase from 125 last year.

Q. Away from the office, how do you keep up?

A. I am married and have been for the last 22 years and have got two children a boy and a girl who are now studying abroad.

So, as you can imagine, it’s just me and my husband at home.

I enjoy family time and on weekends I love riding motorbikes, I enjoy yoga so that I stay fresh as possible, especially for the work that I do where you need to constantly be on top of your game.

I stay out of town, so I also like walking, most of the time in the bush and I am a Catholic, so every Sunday church happens.

Additionally, I enjoy mentoring young girls and women in terms of how you carry yourself in the boardroom as an example.

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