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SBM Bank (Mauritius): Staying relevant in an evolving environment

SBM Bank Mauritius
SBM Bank (Mauritius) Ltd has recently won two awards -- 'Best Private Bank – Mauritius 2022' and 'Best Retail Customer Services Bank – Mauritius 2022' at International Finance Magazine awards 2022

Strategically located at the crossroads between Africa and Asia, Mauritius has built an enviable reputation as an international financial hub. As one of the leading financial service providers in Mauritius, SBM Bank (Mauritius) Ltd is committed to playing an important role in promoting the country’s position as an economically sound and resilient destination for business and investment. Almost half a century after its creation, SBM Bank is rightly perceived as a Bank of the people, for the people, and by the people.

In the 1970s and early 1980s, SBM was the first major banking institution in Mauritius to operate a mobile unit whose task was to go to remote villages around the island where residents didn’t have any access to banking services and banking facilities. During the same time, the Bank, as a proponent of socio-economic development, embarked on the setting up of physical branches in the same spirit of bringing banking to the people. In so doing, SBM Bank has greatly contributed to increasing the number of bank account holders in the country while constantly ramping up its offer in terms of banking products, services, and facilities. This has been achieved while always ensuring that the Bank remained a pioneer of technological innovation.

Focus on innovation
Committed to being in tune with the fast-evolving global banking landscape, SBM Bank (Mauritius) Ltd has, in the last few years, invested significantly in digital technology to enhance the end-to-end customer experience as well as to be better equipped to respond holistically and rapidly to the ever-changing economic environment. The digital transformation journey on which the Bank embarked in recent years has enabled it to remain agile and to strengthen its digital offerings, as was evidenced during the COVID-19 lockdowns of 2020 and 2021, when new digital payment solutions were designed and launched to ensure smooth and swift banking transactions.

In the past two years, SBM Bank has strengthened its digital strategy with new solutions, including the launch of new mobile apps, like SBM Pocket. This freely available app has been designed to offer an inclusive digital experience to end users. The SBM Pocket mobile app has been fully developed in-house by the Bank’s IT team and provides easy access to key information on SBM Bank’s retail products and services. The app also includes tools to help users apply for credit cards, loans and the opening of new accounts at their convenience.

The SBM Pocket mobile app is part of an ecosystem that includes other apps made available to customers of the Bank and the public at large, namely the SBM Mobile Banking and the SBM Amigos apps. SBM Mobile Banking is a full-fledged mobile banking solution, designed to offer convenient, user-friendly and secure access to several SBM services, including the possibility to transfer funds, replenish credit cards and reload prepaid cards, as well as pay bills or recharge prepaid mobile phones, among other features.

As for the SBM Amigos app, it has been developed after a thorough assessment of the needs of parents and children. SBM Amigos is the junior savings solution offered by SBM Bank, and has been designed from the ground up to be the perfect finance management solution for children and teenagers. The Bank continuously reviews the value proposition of SBM Amigos, which ranks among the best-in-class junior savings accounts on the market, one that is compatible with the current and future needs and aspirations of the new generation.

Over the years, SBM Bank has been able to adapt to the fast-changing banking landscape by providing customers with seamless access to innovative digital tools as well as by revamping its solutions, including redefining its physical branches to be more in line with the expectations of customers in the 21st century. The Bank is thus pursuing its renovation exercise of all branches, which started in 2020, to offer a state-of-the-art setting that perfectly illustrates its brand positioning. The strategy is based on the premise of infrastructure modernisation and uplifting the service model to cater to the increasingly sophisticated needs of customers. Meanwhile, the Bank has increased the number of on-location and offsite ATMs while replacing outdated machines with state-of-the-art equipment that carry new, intelligent features, like the iATM, which gives the possibility to users to deposit banknotes directly into their bank accounts without the need to call at a service unit.

In the same spirit, the Bank has renovated its lounge dedicated to clients of the Private Banking and Wealth Management Division. The lounge, which is synonymous with service excellence, offers a setting that is conducive to business discussions and features advanced facilities, including the latest available technology for video conferencing to ease communication to and from clients. Located at the SBM Tower in Port Louis, the capital of Mauritius, the lounge offers an exclusive space to welcome this exclusive client segment and serves as a high-end facility with adequate waiting areas and high-level meeting rooms.

Focus areas
While SBM’s core business has long been retail banking, over the course of its 49-year history, the Bank has leveraged its other competencies to cater to the needs of different segments. By further broadening its range of products and services, SBM has matured to establish itself as a robust financial institution serving the region and beyond. Thanks to SBM Group’s regional presence, the Bank is continuously enhancing its value proposition to attend to the transactional needs and strategic ambitions of international customers. SBM Group, of which SBM Bank is a subsidiary, embarked on an internationalisation strategy over the years, providing an enhanced scope of intervention and closer proximity to build rapport and nurture a close relationship with customers and business partners across targeted market segments in strategic locations, namely Kenya, Madagascar and India.

While the SBM Group has encompassed the regional level with its tenacious moves, it remains deeply rooted in customer service. SBM Bank thus focuses on achieving service excellence not only in providing a top-notch offering to its customers but also to its employees. As an award-winning Employer of Choice, the Bank ensures that its staff are given regular opportunities to upgrade their skills while working in an inclusively conducive environment. This constant focus on excellence helps the Bank’s ambitions to further enhance its position in the domestic market while building a global brand that matches the needs and expectations of existing and future customers.

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