21 May 2019
CIEL Finance

BNI MADAGASCAR: Innovating locally with a global perspective

Alexandre Mey, CEO of BNI Madagascar, explains to Global Finance Magazine, the bank's digital strategy and how a commitment to agility, proximity and adaptability has kept BNI in the lead for 100 years.

Q: BNI Madagascar was named Global Finance’s “Best Bank in Madagascar 2019” this year as you celebrate your 100th anniversary. What has enabled BNI to endure and become a market leader in the Madagascar banking industry today?

Alexandre Mey: BNI Madagascar is the oldest bank in the Great island and we are proud to celebrate our 100th anniversary this year. We dedicate Global Finance‘s honor to our clients and our employees. BNI Madagascar’s strategic 2016-2020 plan is based on a new way of doing business, focused on transformation and innovation. Our clients will always be at the heart of our banking model - they challenge us to deliver the highest level of service.

Q: What do you see in the long-term for the Madagascar banking industry?

Mey: With a 7% banking penetration rate, BNI is helping our clients, and non-clients, understand the easy and simple ways to use banking products and services.

Agility, proximity, and adaptability are key to our business approach for Madagascar. BNI opens approximately 12 branches every year and we are proactivity anticipating market changes, including trends in the international banking industry. We became a pure regional player after the spin-off from Credit Agricole group in 2014, but we are still the first Malagasy bank with a global view of our market.

Q: What are the most significant challenges in Madagascar’s retail and corporate banking markets and how are you addressing issues of financial inclusion and economic sustainability?

Mey: We believe banks in Madagascar must continue promoting financial education to increase the banking penetration rate. Banks should be considered real partners for the country’s economic development. BNI is helping corporates with bespoke and innovative solutions at the Global Transaction Banking level. We are also opening more branches to be closer to the population, serve their banking needs, and provide financial education. In 2019, every Malagasy person should have access to the most useful and convenient banking products and services.

We are committed to providing payments, savings, loans and transaction banking at less cost to fight poverty and improve quality of life. As a universal bank and the first Malagasy bank, BNI integrated that commitment into our overall strategy many years ago. We promote mobile banking for payments and transfers with our partnership with Telco TELMA and participated in the launch of new services for savings and nano-loans in 2017. BNI Madagascar is also starting a microfinance initiative to help local SMEs transition from the informal market to a structured business.

Q: How is BNI Madagascar expanding its online and mobile products and services?

Mey: Our strategic plan includes digitalization for our retail and corporate markets. Our clients are also using the internet with web banking tools for individuals, mobile banking featuring exclusive services like bank-to-wallet and wallet-to-bank, cash management web services for corporates, and an e-commerce platform. Even our process for onboarding new microfinance clients is fully digitized.

Digitalization has become a part of our DNA and we are proud to be the first bank in the Indian Ocean to use digital ledger with a Fintech partnership for international electronic payments in the correspondent banking business.

Q: What is on the horizon for BNIMadagascar?

Mey: In our Global Transaction Banking business, client transactions are getting increasingly digitized with full security and compliance screening and we are simplifying payments and making them more secure. From a new cash management tool and trade finance approach for corporates to an exclusive e-commerce platform and new payment methods for individuals and SMEs, BNI is innovating all the time. Our success is our clients’ satisfaction and our challenge is to be forward looking and maintain the excellence of our banking services.