Bank of Kigali closed the week on a high after it on Friday announced an impressive profit after tax of Rwf11.4 billion made in the first six months of 2017 with a handsome Rwf4.68 billion as total dividend payable to shareholders for the period.
The announcement was matched by good performance on Rwanda Stock market where the BK Share-price made a jump from Rwf255 to Rwf280 after two big deals worth Rwf 669.8 million.
BK CEO Dr Diane Karusisi’s officiated the launch of a 4-month long nationwide Campaign dubbed ‘Bigereho na BK’ in which customers stand a chance to win prizes worth Rwf100 million, on opening a new BK account or depositing money on an existing one.
The New Times spoke to Vincent Gatete, BK’s Chief Commercial Officer, about the campaign.
On Friday you launched a promotion called ‘Bigereho Na BK’; from its name to the mechanism, what is the story behind it?
The “Bigereho na BK” promotion simply calls on Rwandans in different categories to ‘realise their dreams or targets’ through Bank of Kigali and is part of our plan for the year which we unveiled to the press in January, themed around our 50th anniversary celebration. We were incorporated as a company on December 22, 1966 and in 1967, officially begun operations.
Fifty years later, the company has grown into the country’s leading brand whose business enjoys a dominant market-share and is profitable for shareholders as well as the largest tax payer, today, as we saw in our half-year numbers released on Friday.
Our success over the last fifty years, we honestly believe, is shared among most of our corporate and retail customers whose own success has helped contribute to the country’s economic growth and development through increased production, job creation and tax payment. It is this mutual success that we have been celebrating through several activities since the beginning of the year.
The objective of everything we have done since January was to attract public attention to the brand and give us an opportunity to engage positively with customers to get an insight into their expectations as we embark on a journey to the next fifty years.
I am happy to say that we have successfully achieved those two objectives and we are now set for the final objective which is to ‘connect for business.’ After engaging with the public, we now want to connect and reconnect with new and existing customers, respectively. By connecting with us, you don’t only become part of our successful story but you also join us on a transformative journey into the future.
How do you want Rwandans to connect with Bank of Kigali?
For non-customers, we would like them to connect with us by opening a bank account; whether it is a current or savings account that is a solid way of beginning a relationship with us.
We also have existing customers whose accounts are not very active; we want to reconnect with them by having their accounts reactivated and help rid our economy of dormant accounts. However, with “Bigereho na BK”, we will be putting more emphasis on encouraging people to open savings accounts because we want to promote the culture of saving.
For parents, we have a new account that allows you to consistently save for your children while earning the market’s best interest on your savings ( 8%). When people save, banks get money to lend to small and medium enterprises whose investment increases production, job creation and ultimately, national development.
There are many banks offering almost the same products, why should Rwandans connect with yours?
Bank of Kigali offers customers more than just the banking products and service. As per our published balance sheet, we offer you the confidence of knowing you have entrusted your finances to a bank with five decades of a profitable track-record and by opening an account and entrusting us with your savings, you are sure of earnings.
For instance, as of June 30, 2017, our retail clients’ balances and deposits reached Rwf104.5 billion, that is an increase of 13.3 percent. Even businesses and institutional customers prefer banking with us to others; as of June 30, their balances had increased by 17.3 percent to Rwf276.4 billion.
We are a brand you can trust. This year, we also opened two new subsidiaries, BK General Insurance and BK TecHouse which add value to the services already offered by Bank of Kigali. For instance, if our customer gets a BK Vehicle loan, it will be insured under the same roof through BK-Insurance and the car owner could buy a state of the art security system including monitoring cameras, from BK TecHouse. This is the added value customers get when they work with us on top.
What targets do you hope to achieve through Bigereho na BK?
Recent research indicates that only about 26 percent of Rwanda’s adult population is working with banks leaving 74 percent of the population using alternative means to access financial services. Through “Bigereho na BK”, we want to educate and inform our people about the benefits of working with banks, especially Bank of Kigali to achieve their financial aspirations.
Customer education is very important to us because we don’t want them to just open an account to win the Rwf38 million MITSUBISHI FUSO CANTER or any of the other prizes on offer. We want them to take an informed decision, and ensure that their account remains active. So, while we aim at big numbers for both new accounts and deposits, we also want quality numbers.
You mentioned that this is a nation-wide campaign; what activities have you planned to ensure you reach majority of Rwandans in the country?
We have up to the end of this year, to reach as many Rwandans as possible, so we are okay in terms of time. In terms of reach, we intend to use all forms of media available to us, including traditional and new media channels to get our message to customers.
And the message is simple, come connect or reconnect with us by opening a new account or reactivating a dormant one by depositing money on it and keep it there for the period of three months, minimum.
The longer you keep money on your savings account, the more you earn interest from us because the bank shares the profits it makes from lending your money to other customers in form of loans. Besides earning interest, we have prizes worth Rwf100m to win, including a lorry worth Rwf38 million to be won by customers that participate in our” Bigereho Na BK” Campaign.
We started with EXPO 20 activations, where by visiting our stand, you can start enjoying our offers and with the help of our expansive branch and agency network, we shall have road-shows across the country as we aim at reaching as many Rwandans as possible.
Any other interesting update to share with our readers?
Yes. We have product updates including a new Visa Platinum Credit card which targets our premium customers and it comes with higher credit limit and with exciting local and international benefits. We are also repackaging our Premier banking service to become a ‘five-star banking experience’ with more customized services for paid-up members.