An Interview with the CEO
QN–Bank of Kigali (BK) has been in the market for 50 years; a remarkable feat for any institution. What can you cite as your major achievements and contribution to the country’s financial sector?
The primary role of financial institutions such as banks in any economy is to take money from where it is to where it is needed, facilitating the process of channeling savings to investments. Without investment, there is no production, job creation and no development for that matter. Bank of Kigali has created a strong brand over the years and we stand for trust and efficiency in this market. This has helped us deliver successfully on our mandate, supporting savers, investors and the economy as a whole while maintaining market leadership.
Bank of Kigali’s major achievements include our significant contribution to national financial inclusion efforts, as well as the role we play in supporting Small and Medium Enterprises, providing them with much needed capital to drive growth and innovation. We are also the only Rwandan bank listed on the stock market and we are proud to support ongoing efforts to educate our people on capital market opportunities, and support the development of a vibrant stock market.
QN–Financial services are essential for Rwanda’s economic growth, especially in ensuring total financial inclusion; what are you doing as a bank to get more Rwandans banked?
Financial inclusion is indeed an important development priority. It is critical to enable people to save for their future and promote self-reliance. Bank of Kigali has done and continues to do a lot. We have opened branches in almost all parts of the country; these are supported by our agency network of over 1200 ensuring that Rwandans have easy access to our services. But perhaps the biggest investment and an area where we intend to focus our efforts, moving forward is the area of technology supported service delivery; we have made it possible for our customers to bank in the comfort and convenience of their offices or homes. This is all possible through technology supported platforms such as internet banking, BK-mobiserve, E-tax payment and online purchases using BK debit or credit cards. What we have done so far, in this area is a foundation upon which more innovation will be founded as we embark on the journey for the next fifty years.
QN: How is the Bank embracing innovation to deliver products that respond to the customer’s needs and convenience?
The Bank’s approach in all areas relies on 3 pillars: People, Technology and Risk. Banking is a people business and we always strive to get the right people with the right attitude. It is people who innovate, and that human touch is very important to us, especially in ensuring that our customers enjoy great customer service. Secondly, today, technology offers powerful solutions to serve our customers efficiently and conveniently. We are always open to new technologies and aspire to be the most innovative bank, bringing new products and solutions to the market to meet the ever changing needs of our customers. The right mix of people and technology is the best way for us to manage the risk of our business including technology related risks, fraud and privacy breaches. We believe this approach will ensure we continuously improve operational efficiency, grow the business and deliver sustainable high returns to our shareholders.
QN: How do you deal with clients’ queries and complaints and work to improve the level of service in the bank’s branches and agencies?
We take all customer complaints with humility. We aspire to serve with excellence and this requires continuous improvement of our systems and our people through training. We have invested a lot in technology to support self-service channels such as ATMs, mobile banking, etc. The uptime of our self-service channels has improved over the years to reach over 90% today. However, we know that every single failed transaction, every customer who is mishandled by our staff is frustration to that customer and a risk to the relationship we are building with that customer.
We love to hear from our customers, whether complaints or compliments, and the guiding principle at Bank of Kigali is that, our people must know that the way we handle our customers is critical in communicating how highly they are valued and treasured. It is a standard for our people to be humble in accepting feedback, apologize to customers for not meeting their expectations and offer them helpful solutions to their problems. A positive attitude is a must.
QN: BK is starting on the next 50 years’ journey, how do you see the bank evolving to keep the image of reliability that it has had over the past 50 years and also to evolve and capture new needs of the market and consumers?
In today’s World, the dawn of the 4th industrial revolution, every business has to be agile, pro-active and embrace change. It is difficult to predict what banking will be like in fifty years. Nonetheless, regardless of the evolution of the industry, we want to see Bank of Kigali still standout as the most relevant institution in terms of financial services in Rwanda, a place where customers can be assured of the best customer service experience. The services we offer today will certainly change in coming years but we must remain relevant in the lives of people who want to save, invest or do any form of business. Bank of Kigali should remain their first choice.