By Timo Shihepo
Windhoek – Bank BIC Namibia Limited of Angola is making significant strides in the already saturated Namibian banking market with the company saying that they have given out more than R10 million worth of loans since its inception in June 2016.
The company also said since it extend its footprints to Namibia in the middle of this year, so far they have 1 035 clients who transacted more than R20 million, according to figures correct as the 27 September 2016.
In interview with The Southern Times, Bank BIC CEO Jorge Veiga described the clientele as an achievement, given the fact that Namibia only has 2,2 million people who have many banking choices.
The company has also said that it has budgeted between R4 -5 billion to expand its branches countrywide from as early as next year.
“The project presented to Bank of Namibia was very clear that we want to open 18-20 branches in Namibia. We will start with a new branch in Windhoek as well as in Walvis Bay and Oshikango between January and February. We want to also open at Tsumeb, Grootfontein, Oshakati, Gobabis, Lüderitz amongst others,” said Veiga.
Although, its main target is the Namibian people, Veiga said the current economic situation in Angola is, to an extent, affecting its operations.
Veiga said Angola at the moment is facing some difficulties especially with the foreign currencies but said it’s something that the country will overcome and he believes that in two years everything will be back in place.
“This year we are feeling the effects of trade between Namibia and Angola as the level of trade is not where we want it to be. Namibia trades with Angola and the economic situation back home will have an effect until a certain degree on our operations but not that much because our target in the beginning was always the Namibian people,” he said.
He added that they were also faced with challenges in the very beginning with some people asking questions as to whether they are real or not. He said they were not surprised as this happens to every new business in any environment.
Bank BIC has also entered the Namibian banking system at a time when Bank of Namibia, together with the Payment Association of Namibia (PAN), are introducing new methods of banking.
According to PAN, the Namibian payment industry has adopted the international standards of EMV (Europay, MasterCard and Visa) and PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard) to safeguard card transactions against fraud.
Further, the EMV standards involve technological changes to card, ATM and point of sales devices (POS).
The implementation of both these standards requires infrastructure changes to banking institutions’ current ATM and POS networks.
“The challenge that we are facing as a new bank is that we are entering into new stream of payments that Bank of Namibia together with the Payment Association of Namibia (PAN) are creating but we want to have cards by the end of December and January but that doesn’t depend on us.
“The new stream is also making the process of receiving money from other banks or from Bank of Namibia very slow and I am told this is likely to be resolved only by next year June. Other than that, there is not something we do not know it’s the same banking market as in Angola or Portugal,” said Veiga.
At the moment the bank is operating in three SADC countries, Angola, Namibia and South Africa but said talks are at an advanced stage to introduce projects in Botswana, Tanzania, Zambia, DR Congo and Congo-Brazzaville. The bank has also branches in Cape Verde and Portugal.
Veiga said in five years’ time they want to have at least 5% of the market share and targets about 250 jobs, up from the current 25.
“We have interviewed a lot of people already for the branch which will be opened in Windhoek early next year. We also hope to do the same for the other new branches. We have a full licence which enables us to do forex, we can give loans, we can received deposits, open accounts and many more,” he said.