In this latest edition of Meet the Boss, Voice Money’s KABELO ADAMSON speaks to Sam Minta, Stanbic Bank Botswana Chief Executive.
Minta, who has been with the Standard Bank Group (Stanbic bank parent company) for over 10 years now reflects on his journey with the bank so far and further discusses the type of legacy he wishes to leave once he departs Stanbic Bank hot seat.
Q. It’s been almost four years since you assumed your role as Stanbic Bank Botswana Chief Executive, kindly give a reflection on the journey.
A. It has been an exciting journey in that I took over at a point where we thought it was time to revisit our purpose.
We had to have a change of mindset and realize that we exist for the clients and took it from that perspective on what really matters most.
As I said, it has been an exciting one and I am truly grateful to everyone, the board, and staff who have been supportive throughout.
Q. You have been with Standard Bank Group for over 10 years now; take us through your journey with the Group.
A. I think for me, my purpose is to create a legacy, a life of hope and achievement, when I was working for Standard Chartered Bank in Dubai, I had the benefit of seeing the growth of Dubai in what it is today.
After the financial crisis, I asked myself where I would like to leave the impact and that is when I decided to come back to Africa.
I started off in Johannesburg as Chief Operations Officer (COO) – Africa Regions Finance in Standard Bank Group before moving to Zambia where I spent three years as Chief Financial Officer and when I left we were the number one bank in the country.
I look back with a lot of joy and pride which is one of the major highlights of my career.
When I was in Zambia, I thought my job was done and I was asked to come to Botswana where there were some issues then.
We have since grown our client base exponentially and I can only be proud.
Q. When did your career in banking begin?
A. After finishing my studies I worked for an Information Communication Technology (ICT) firm for six years.
One day I was having a casual conversation with a friend about working in the banking industry.
In about six months this friend called to say there was an opening as someone had left their bank and encouraged me to apply.
In 2002 I joined Standard Chartered Bank in Ghana as Head, Wholesale Bank Finance, and took it as a great challenge.
I learned a lot through asking around a lot of questions for three years.
I was then chosen to go to Dubai as Chief Financial Officer (CFO) & Regional Head, Global Markets Finance for Standard Chartered Bank.
My time there was amazing in a market that is sophisticated and I learned a lot from the team there.
Q. In that period, what would you describe as the highlight of your career?
A. Wherever I have been, I have been blessed enough to make an impact.
When I worked for Standard Chartered in Ghana, we were the ones who introduced the point of sales and turned around the balance sheet, and when I worked for the ICT company, we were the ones who pioneered the bar-code system.
In my role in Dubai, one of my major highlights is how we managed to navigate through the financial crisis after the bank lost US$14 million in a day, however, we managed to bring the situation under control which is something I take pride in.
Most importantly, many people I have had the pleasure of working with have gone on to achieve other great things.
Q. And the lowest?
A. There is an old adage which says‘violent storms make great captains’.
For a long time we have been supporting the sightholders and had an exposure of US$25 million, and in 2018 a client defaulted which was a major let down.
But we managed to rise again.
Q. Moving on, Covid-19 has changed almost everything, how has it affected Stanbic?
A. This is both regrettable and sad not only for the bank but the whole world.
Productivity has been affected and many lives lost.
We operate within a community and whatever happens to the community affects us too, from liquidity to impairments.
So, the impact on the business has been profound, but on the positive side is how we changed the way of doing business and accelerate digitization.
Q. In terms of financing, which sectors of the economy does the bank have much interest in?
A. If you look at our GDP, there is a perception that it is diversified, but you have to look at which things you produce are exportable.
Diamonds reserves may run out in the next 30 years so what is needed is diversification on export earnings.
If you look at the number of students graduating, it keeps on increasing and as such we need to think about creating jobs and enabling companies to grow to create job opportunities.
Yes, we will continue to support the industry and other sectors like tourism, but you have to look at the direction at which the world is taking as companies become ICT-based.
The other sector that we are starting to look at is agriculture.
Q. What programmes does the bank have for SMMEs?
A. SMMEs drive the economy and it is a top priority for us and the only way we can generate new jobs is by supporting the SMMEs.
The problem is not about funding, but the ability to create value.
We have a program targeting the SMMEs in terms of incubation, access to funding and markets and we have also created a digital market.
Q. As a bank, what are your forecast in terms of economic growth this year and the following, and what do you think will drive economic growth?
A. Mining will continue to drive the economy and maybe for the next 20 years.
The reality is that the country has been exposed which calls for the need to take sectors like agriculture seriously.
Botswana also ought to use being a landlocked country to its advantage and strive for digital transformation.
Q. Lastly, how do you spend your time away from the office?
A. I enjoy family time and my wife is my support structure.
When I decided to come back to Africa, she quit her lucrative job to join and we remain a close-knit family.
I also enjoy playing golf.
FULL NAMES: Samuel Minta
PLACE OF BIRTH: Accra, Ghana
MARITAL STATUS: Married
CAR DRIVING: Land Cruiser
DREAM HOLIDAY DESTINATION: Thailand
HOBBIES: Tennis, cycling, swimming
FAVOURITE FOOD: Tasty food
FAVOURITE DRINK: A glass of good quality wine
WHAT MAKES YOU ANGRY: Bad behavior