The Road to the One Bank of Choice

Road to the One Bank of Choice

January 6, 2020

Thanks to its strategy centered around innovative products and customer satisfaction, Bank One has emerged as a key player. The objective is to become the best bank in Mauritius, states its CEO.

The Mauritian banking sector is built on strong foundations with the ten biggest banks, including Bank One, posting profits exceeding Rs 20 billion. What are the main drivers of the growth of our banks?

I believe the key aspect is that Mauritius is an offshore financial services centre. We are also the gateway to Africa, which provides us with an amazing ability to do business outside Mauritius. In this context, our regulations provide us with the necessary framework. This is the key driver of growth in the banking industry.

There are gaps in financing on the African continent that Mauritius is able to address. Some of the domestic banks have actually achieved very good positions in being bankers to banks in Africa as well. It’s surprising that countries within Africa are not able to do business with each other from a banking perspective. They cannot lend outside their own countries. Whereas in Mauritius, we have got policies that allow us to do just that.

Similarly, on the private banking side, we are attracting good business into Mauritius. Again, the country offers an excellent platform for doing business. As a result, many external asset managers are coming and settling in Mauritius and doing business from here. The simple answer is that for Mauritian banks the globe is our playing field and not just Mauritius. This is the key driver of profitability and business growth in the banking sector. This is complementary to the fact that Mauritius is consistently growing year after year at GDP rate of 3-4%.

Furthermore, when you look at the exchange rates, Mauritius is probably the best performing currency in the world. For the last 20-30 years, the trend has been much better than in most African and Asian currencies. In a nutshell, Mauritius provides a stable and enabling environment, as well as a good legal and banking framework.

Bank One born out of a joint venture between CIEL Investment and I&M Bank which took over First City Bank in 2008. From a loss of over Rs 100 million, the bank registered a profit of Rs 393 million for the year ended 2018. What has been the key to the success of the bank so far?

The key to the success of the bank has been the support of the shareholders to allow us to create a vision and execute it. It is a very professionally managed bank. Our vision IS to become the ‘One Bank of Choice’.

We do not aim to become the biggest but rather the best in what we do. We analyse the gaps in the market and come up with innovative products and strive to deliver a quality service. We have also recently upgraded our technology platform. As a result, we have emerged from a Tier 3 to a Tier 2 bank in the market. Bank One is clearly among the top 10 banks today; ranking 9th in the banking sector according to the Top 100 companies 2019, up from 10th in 2018 and 11th in 2017.

The focus is on delivering quality products to our customers, the right service level and at the right price. Our message to them is the following: do they want to line up in large ATM queues in bigger banks or do they aspire to get quality service at Bank One quickly? Do they want to be just an account number in another bank or do they want to be known at Bank One? The key to Bank One’s success has been our personalized approach to our customers. That is basically how we have been growing better and faster than the market and have been able to reach the level of Rs 393 million in terms of profitability in 2018. We are also seeing excellent growth prospects in 2019-20 and beyond.

Speaking about being the ‘One Bank of Choice’, can you tell us what does this entail in terms of value proposition?

Our value proposition is to become the best bank in town. It is easy to say that we want to be the best bank in town, but how do we define this? At Bank One, we have set ourselves certain measurement criteria to achieve this objective. We can only be the best by delivering good quality and consistent service to the customer and by being honest with them.

We have set up a vision for 2020 defining how we are going to be the best bank in town. And we are tracking and monitoring those variables. I am pleased that we have made some very good progress in the last few years.

We also want to be the best place to work for our people. We want to give good returns to our shareholders. We want to be compliant with all the regulatory requirements. We want to set up a technology architecture and digitalization process that delivers value both for our customers and for us. We want to share our experience and prove to our customers that our service is the best. We want to be a reference for service quality in Mauritius in the banking industry.

What is your vision for Bank One by 2030?

By 2030, clearly it is to be the best bank in Mauritius. We would like to be in the top 5 banks on the island. Basically, our goal is to be the golden standard of banking in Mauritius. We want to create something that all of us, and Mauritius in general can be proud of.

Ravneet Chowdhury