The new BPR chief executive officer, Sanjeev Anand, has pledged to provide clients improved services and bring on board diverse products to meet their needs. Anand made the remarks while meeting the bank’s clients and shareholders in Musanze and Rubavu districts on Friday.
He said the meetings were important because “we wanted to reassure clients and shareholders about the bank’s performance and financial position.”
“We can only promise that things will get better going forward as the bank now has enough resources and will introduce new products that meet different customers’ needs,” he said.
According to Anand, the bank was previously underperforming, a situation that meant shareholders were getting minimal dividends, while clients did not have a range of products to cater for their specific needs.
He attributted the challenge to lack of enough funds to meet all its clients’ loan requests.
However, speaking to journalists in Musanze, Anand said the situation had been reversed, noting that BPR is now well capitalised, thanks to funds from Atlas Mara.
BPR is the former Banque Populaire du Rwanda (BPR). The bank was rebranded BPR after it was taken over by Atlas Mara. The acquisition made BPR the second-largest bank in the country in terms of asset base.
“We look forward to using the secured capital to improve the services and products at BPR,” he said.
The CEO and other bank officials had earlier hosted Musanze customers and shareholders to a luncheon at Hotel La Palme. While in Rubavu, the bank officials and clients had cordial dialogue during a cocktail party at Lake Kivu Serena Hotel.
Meanwhile, Anand has said the bank will embrace technology to enhance service delivery and product offerings.
He said the bank plans to rollout more mobile banking services, which will enable customers to open accounts electronically as well as receive their loan application feedback, like approvals on phones in the comfort of their homes or offices without having to return to their branch to check on the progress. He said the bank targets to have 400,000 mobile customers, which is double its current mobile banking users (200,000).
He also pledged to improve the physical image of the bank by refurbishing all BPR branches, arguing that this will create an attractive and comfortable banking environment to serve the customers efficiently. He emphasised the fact that the bank will keep its nationwide outlook. He noted that the countrywide branch network is what makes BPR unique from other lenders, a strength he said they will endevour to maintain.
The chief executive said the bank would unveil a wide range of saving products to encourage the savings culture in the country.
“We want to encourage people to save by expanding the range of our savings products,” he said.
He added that BPR will increase its presence in the corporate sector through products, like long-term investment loans.
Customers speak out
The interaction with the bank’s top officials excited clients in both districts, who asked the lender to provide them tailor-made products and services. Elizabeth Nyirakabuguzo, who has been a BPR client since 1993, said the CEO’s visit was proof that BPR is a “loving bank”.
“The meeting was encouraging and beneficial as the bank officials answered some of our grievances and explained those we did not understand or know about before. It is always good for them to come down and meet us,” she said.
Anand pledged to conduct regular outreaches to all the various bank branches.
“It has been a very good interactive session… I thank customers for giving us useful feedback. These suggestions will help us serve you better,” he said. He added that the feedback will be used to develop products that add value to customers’ lives.