HARARE – Leading financial services institution, Stanbic Bank has been awarded the 2020 Bank of the Year 2020 accolade for the second year running by top banking magazine – The Banker. Given the travel and social distancing constraints imposed this year by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Banker hosted the prestigious annual event virtually.
The Standard Bank Group subsidiary’s award comes barely a month after winning the Best Bank in Zimbabwe at the African Banking Awards hosted by leading financial services journal, Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) Finance.
Stanbic Bank joined other Standard Bank subsidiary country banks Ghana and Tanzania in maintaining the dominance of Africa’s leading banking group in the financial services sector as they have representation in 20 countries across the continent.
The Banker “Bank of the Year” accolades are among the most coveted and widely regarded awards in the banking industry. The Banker is a member of the Financial Times Group renowned for being one of the most trusted sources of global banking information since 1926.
Last year Stanbic Bank won the award, regarded as the industry standard for assessing banks globally since 1926, together with stable countries South Africa, Lesotho, Zambia, and Angola.
Stanbic was recognised for its resilience and innovation in the face of the operational challenges brought about by the menacing COVID 19 which has caused havoc world-wide. The pandemic presented the banking sector with challenges beyond any previous experience and Stanbic Bank was commended for “providing stability and putting the needs of its clients and employees at the forefront of its operations”.
“The industry has been at the forefront of providing stability and access to vital services at this critical time. The judges this year have placed particular emphasis on which banks have led the way in meeting client needs and maintaining resilience in the face of the pandemic,” said The Banker which celebrates 95 years in January 2021.
“A rigorous and highly analytical process is made to reach each Bank of the Year decision and our reputation for independence, authority and integrity is applied to each submission. More banks apply for the Bank of the Year Awards than any other similar process and our access to data on each bank and our focus on transformation, inclusion and diversity in the industry is well known”, The Banker magazine added.
Stanbic Bank Chief Executive, Joshua Tapambgwa, said the institution had to adopt an “It can be” attitude in the face of COVID-19 and was determined not to let their clients and employees down.
Tapambgwa said this award was even more humbling than last year’s one, owing to the challenges posed by COVID-19 and the determination by the institution’s board, management and staff to ensure the clients received the most innovative, effective and efficient services even under the difficult circumstances.
“COVID-19 was an unknown virus which took all and sundry by surprise and we really had to think on our toes with our clients and employees in mind. As much as most of our staff members had to work from home, the fact that we are an essential service gave us the determination to overcome our fears of the pandemic, knuckle down and work for our clients,” said Tapambgwa.
He said the bank introduced contactless debit cards to protect its clients from contracting the virus among a host of other innovative measures to mitigate against the spread of the virus.
Tapambgwa said Stanbic Bank not only took care of its clients and employees but went the extra mile to purchase US$200 000 worth of 5 ventilators; 32 500 Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) which include suits, masks, face shields and goggles; 2 400 PCR tests, 3 000 sanitizers for frontline workers from six referral hospitals and COVID-19 centres throughout the country.
“Our contribution went well beyond the purchase of PPEs and other equipment as we provided US$2.8 million worth of credit and allocation of foreign currency to our clients in the medical and associated industries to facilitate the acquisition of health care items to help fight the pandemic,” said Tapambgwa.
St Anne’s Hospital, Wilkins Hospital in Harare, Gweru Provincial Hospital, Masvingo Provincial, Thorngrove and Mutare Infectious hospitals all received their share of PPEs in June this year.