4 November 2009
South Africa’s First National Bank has started operating in Zambia, taking advantage of an investor-friendly environment with low political risk to expand in the southern African country.
Since receiving its Zambian banking licence in November 2008, First National Bank (FNB) has opened three full-service branches, including a commercial branch, in Lusaka, and a branch in Zambia’s copper belt. A further two branches have already been planned for 2010.
“Despite the current global economic climate, Zambia provides an investor-friendly environment and is a low political risk country,” FNB chief executive Michael Jordaan said in a statement last week, coinciding with the official opening of FNB’s first branch by Zambian President Rupiah Banda.
“FNB believes that it can add value to the Zambian banking industry by bringing the best of our acquired skills and knowledge on the continent in terms of our innovative products, services and technology,” Jordaan said.
“One of our key strategic focus areas is to deliver innovative banking services to all our customers in Africa by further expanding outside of South Africa. In line with this, FNB’s vision is to be the pre-eminent financial services group in South Africa and the rest of Africa.”
FNB Zambia CEO Richard Hudson said the bank’s Zambian offerings included branches and ATMs, as well as electronic and cellphone banking. “To ensure efficient execution, our strategy is to roll out products, services and channels in a phased approach.
“In addition, FNB has a multi-currency product offering that offers accounts in five different currencies,” Hudson said. “It is also the group’s first subsidiary to utilise full satellite technology.”
Hudson said he believed that the Zambian personal and business banking environment was open and receptive to new market players.
“FNB has industry leading innovations which have been successfully launched in other African countries, and now Zambia will reap the benefits of FNB’s innovative thinking,” he said.
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