Making a difference in people’s lives – that’s the goal for banker Leina Gabaraane, who took over the helm as the new Chief Executive Officer of Stanbic Bank Zambia this month.
Gabaraane, who replaced Charles Mudiwa as boss the country’s largest bank by balance sheet, has promised to channel his energy and passion into ensuring his staff impress customers with the bank’s products and services.
Key business sectors, including SME, mining, energy, agriculture and infrastructure, will also be a focus for Gabaraane as the bank continues its drive to support economic growth.
Gabaraane, who took over as Stanbic Bank Zambia chief executive on January 18, joined the Standard Bank Group, of which Stanbic Bank Zambia is a member, in 2002 as principal business development officer (projects) at Stanbic Investment Management Services (SIMS), a subsidiary of the Standard Bank Group, and rose through the ranks to become executive director at SIMS in 2004.
“Until my appointment here as chief executive for Zambia, I was chief executive of Stanbic Botswana for the last 10 years. And prior to that, I was chief executive officer of Stanlib, which is a Standard Bank Group asset management operation, where I was fortunate to be for seven years before I joined Stanbic Bank Botswana as chief executive,” said Gabaraane.
He believes he will transform Stanbic Bank Zambia from being a financial services provider to an institution that plays an active role in the community in which it operates.
“Our responsibility within the community goes beyond making profit and providing a service to our customers. We have to make an impact in the communities that we are operating in. We have a corporate social responsibility programme that is significantly making a difference to a lot of people. We have provided houses, we continue to provide and facilitate saving. We have other projects such as the Jubilee Market initiative that we are doing, which is also facilitating trading in the economy,” he said.
“I always say that we, as a financial institution, effectively sell a commodity called banking. And being a commodity means our competitors are selling the same thing as we are. What’s going to make us different is how we impact on our customers,” added Gabaraane.
“And the first thing that I see within Stanbic is the ability of our staff to be able to impact on our customers in a delightful manner. So, it’s not just about satisfying and meeting our customers’ expectations, we’ve got to get to a point where we delight them and get them to have a reason to do business with us, because they can go and get similar support and services anywhere else. The fact that they can get that wow factor and enjoyable experience by interacting with us is what will make them come back.”
He said that next step for the bank is to find solutions to transforming key economic sectors such as mining and agriculture into further downstream activities.
“The creation of these downstream businesses and sectors is very important particularly in a country such as Zambia. It’s important because it creates an opportunity for the small, micro and medium enterprises to also flourish and provide services to those particular sectors. So, we will continue to be participants in mining. And we are also in agriculture; agriculture is a big one, and the reason it is important, is because of the impact that it has on employment. It is a large employer,” said Gabaraane.
He added that Stanbic remains committed to providing innovative financial solutions and tangibly contributing to the Zambian economy by providing answers to some of the financing challenges that various sectors of the economy are facing in obtaining long-term funding, and ultimately towards facilitating growth in development in sectors such as mining, agriculture, education, construction and health.
Zambia’s conducive investment environment puts it in an advantageous position and there is great potential and room for investment and growth in the various sectors and industries. Stanbic has been a vital part of driving that growth and has financed major projects in the local agriculture, infrastructure, mining and energy sectors.
“There is a lot of work to be done but there is a lot of work that has been done. And as a bank, we tend to want to align ourselves with key sectors of the economy that drive the economy,” he said.
“Stanbic has a very rich history in Zambia. We have been around for a very long time and we will continue to be part of this economy for a very long time to come. Going forward, we will not just be a leading bank, but we will be seen as a bank that makes a difference to everybody in Zambia,” said Gabaraane.
He thinks that with government’s continued support and that of its stakeholders, the bank can drive Zambia’s growth.
“Our passion is Zambia because we love Zambia; she is our home and we will continue to drive her growth,” concluded Gabaraane.