Home Banking Interview with Dr. Charles Stephen Kimei, Chief Executive Officer of CRDB Bank plc

Interview with Dr. Charles Stephen Kimei, Chief Executive Officer of CRDB Bank plc

by internationalbanker

Simon Hughes of International Banker interviews Dr. Charles Stephen Kimei, the Chief Executive Officer of CRDB Bank plc.


Today International Banker is joined by Dr. Charles Kimei, chief executive director of CRDB Bank plc, to discuss both the bank’s success and the future of banking in the Tanzanian market. Charles, very good to have you with us.

Thank you very much.

So how would you characterize Tanzania’s banking industry? Do you expect the sector to undergo any consolidation in the future?

Yes, I would say that the Tanzanian banking industry has grown tremendously in the past few years. With the number of institutions rising from one in 1990, in the mid-1990s, to 59 as I’m speaking today. Of course, the real commercial banks are part of the total, the others are nonpaid financial institutions. But 59 financial institutions in the country in Tanzania, that is large. Now I would say that despite the number being large, some of the banks are very small; they are community banks, and they are more initial rated as they focus on certain segments only. And very few institutions, I think only five institutions, have national wide metrics. And I would say that we have the national banks, which are also operating quite well, but I would say that they are more restricted operations in the big cities and big towns. We have about four big towns; they are Arusha, Mwanza, Dar es Salaam itself and Blair (Dodoma?). And this is where they are. So the real competition becomes fairly, very narrow, so to speak, because the real competitors are Arusha and Dar es Salaam, which are two banks. I would say three. My bank, which is CRDB Bank, is not only the largest in terms of the net worth if you include all of the outlets that we had. But then this is followed by the national bank, the National Microfinance Bank and then the National Bank of Commerce. These two, which are not following as were the biggest before. And I would say that the smaller institutions are quite variable in terms of changes in the present environment especially as the central bank has its lateral requirements, capital requirements for that matter, now they are introducing operational risk buffers. And I think given the difficulty of obtaining good working capital, because they are not very profitable, only the large ones are more profitable. They can raise capital internationally or domestically. So the smaller banks will be forced somehow to go into acquisitions or mergers. Otherwise they will not be able to survive through a lot of empowerments. It’s very much following those international standards, and really the only banks that will be able to survive are those which are wider to excel, which are large in terms of capital basis as well as funding, cash.

And talking of performance, last year saw some startlingly big numbers being posted, such as 21 percent growth in profit before tax, and about 35 percent growth in the group’s net income margins. How well positioned would you say CRDB is to maintain such growth rates going forward?

Over the last 20 years, we are now celebrating our 20th anniversary, the vision of the bank has been to grow. It’s electric in terms of outlets. We have focused on regional banking. And regional banking means that going to the people. And you see Tanzania is literally a country of big companies. So far it’s five, or eight, so it’s more small, medium. And most…if you want to grow a bank, you have to go to the bottom of the pyramid. That’s why we said, “OK, we want to grow a retail bank. And for us to do that, we need to expand.” So the growth has been phenomenal in terms of the branches we have opened in a year. Last year we opened 76 branches in one year. We started with field branch but just last year we opened 76 branches apart from other outlets that are below branch category. Like service counters, multi-service counters, agile centers, etc. So the idea has been to really grow growth. And you know when you grow you cannot make much profit because of you trade off between growth and profitability. Today if I was to stabilize, if I were to say, I’m not opening branches that I knew were going to be poor. For sure, I can double my profit. But we have said, no. Our vision is to build a foundation.  And I can tell you that the foundation we have been building for the last 20 years is now starting to yield fruit. That’s why you see that even though we have been posting around 20 percent of profit growth over many years, but now I can assure you that what we posted last year is a peanut because we know that with the maturity of our foundation, the outlets that we put in place and the new products and the platforms, the systems that we are improving, our core banking system and the supporting perusals, I’m sure that we have now reached a stage where we can say that we’ve built a critical mass to ensure sustainable growth in our profit for many years to come. And what we want to say is that we are stabilized now because we are now focusing on the core issues of those achievements. I’m sure we should be able to post a larger profit.

Within that performance, though, there was a nonperforming loan ratio of 8.1 percent, which is perhaps higher than you would like it to be. How do you intend to reduce this number going forward?

It’s true that the NPL which grew a little bit last year, more than what we had targeted, which was between 5 and 7 percent. And it was instrumental in reducing our profit. But I can tell you that the main, there are three main reasons for the increase in the NPL. First, it is to do with the change in the lateral provisioning. From last year, the central bank introduced a new provisional ratio that requires that once you restructure a facility, even though quite certainly that facility is good, you cannot wait until after the restructure, before closing, after the bills paid. So we have to maintain a pro class provision of some of the facilities that we had restructured. But which were good facilities. And so, I know the previous regime, previous operation regime, would have left it, it would not have affected our provision, so that is one. Second, there was a problem with the government interference in the bank’s trading, in 2014 and 2015, which made some of the borrowers, which enabled some of the farmers. They built sales of the little bank core through sales through the independent farmers. There bypassing the channels through which they should have been deducted, the payments for their loans, which is on a cash market, competitors. And then the third one is the sugar industry. With the sugar industry, which we are also financing in a large way, there was the problem of dumping sugar into the country. There were huge imports. And so the sugar factories, which had a large exposure from us, they were not unable to fulfill their obligations to the bank. That’s why we saw that it increased. But these three factors have been addressed by the new government. We have a new government that is focusing on industrialization, and it means that they want to ensure that the local industries are forming. And for that market they have now addressed the issue of unnecessary imports when local industry can meet the demand. And they have addressed the issues relating to tobacco and the issues addressing to, the issue with, the relation to the nation as a whole, because we are one country. So I think that we should be able to reduce the NPL ratio beginning next year.

And in talking about that, you’re describing types of clients that you service. You actually kind of cover the entire spectrum from micro finance through to retail ending all the way up to major corporates. How challenging is it for the bank to have that kind of diverse loan portfolio?

I think as you said I know people who are not really, they tend to think that, where here you are really looking at a very diverse portfolio. The real issues that the corporates are seeing around portfolio. The SMEs who have grown with us from small, medium and now they’ve become corporates. They really want to grow across, from SME, and then later on let them grow into another bank. So that’s why we say, OK, we raised our own corporates. The corporate segment in Tanzania is not a large one. When we started about 20 years ago, the corporate segment was built by mainly international banks, they were fighting there, the competition was tremendous. And, of course, the definition of a corporate in our case may be a small enterprising Europe. So we started looking, we said, we should create a family. From the bottom of the pyramid, you’ll be able to siphon SMEs and ultimately corporates. And this is what you see. This is why you see the performance diversified, and with all the SMEs. But the SMEs you say, you have grown them customers of the bank who have been graduated. They are graduates of small, some of them macro. We had to create a subsidiary company called Macro-Finance Services Company. Because we could not rate the macro-finance at the time we wanted, the year 2000. So we created that to help us manage the bottom of the pyramid, the macro entrepreneurs and the small informal groups. So with that one, we were able now to get people to get their customers into the region. Well some of the customers who were individuals were not qualified to become embodied on board as regional customers. And some of them as they stayed there in that area for some time, they grew into SMEs, and some of them are now up to corporate. So what I am saying is that we have performed a strategy that somehow is uplifting everybody. Maybe it was and it is now the only local institution that is run by locals there. We know the requirements of our customers, and I’m glad that really we have been able to graduate people and scale them up into the client group as customers.

So SMEs constitute a massive percentage of the total number of businesses in Tanzania. Do you think you’re currently satisfying the kind of exposure that you have to that sector?

Yeah, to some extent. Of course we cannot shoot too much at the time. But what I can tell you is that about 65 percent of the SMEs are not accessing any bank. And some of them cannot access them because they do not have the traditional requirements for a formal bank to lend to them. And most of the time the SMEs may be just depositors. But they really access with their families. So they really have parallel. So what we did in 2006 was to create a special program that engineered the process of working and appraising facilities to these customers who had been called, they were covered, inviting them for capacity to show them how they can grow their businesses and then they can become better in terms of increasing their scales, production, profitability and all that. So with that program we’ve been able to accommodate non-traditional collaterals. Like for example moveable assets with, even move titles into the collateral so that they can get access to finance and therefore be able to acquire the assets they need for them to increase their production. So that has really been our approach, and I’m glad that a number of the institutions that I have seen, DEG, European Investment Bank and African Development Bank in collaboration with USAid. They have supported this program because they saw that it is one way of trying to help out the growth of the country. And we have been able now to as we go forward with, we announce, “This system is working.” The appraisal of the management of this segment is very much robust to the bank. We’re even thinking of creating a department, a special department, just for this. And think about it, if we are able to improve even a few percentage points so that the 65 who are not accessing any bank presently will do so. I’m sure it is going to continue tremendously to the growth of the quality, the growth in the bank. And surely we are seeing that the growth of the bank in the coming decade and maybe for many other years is going to come from SMEs. It’s where we’re focusing. We have worked to reduce the exposures to the corporate segment. And we’ve now in the last two years, we’ve seen even the issue of the NPL. We know that what has caused the real problems, the corporate segment exposure, and it’s become very vulnerable because they are systemic shocks. But if you focus on SMEs the exposures will stop being large and then we will manage down the NPL. That is really our focus.

And that kind of nurturing of your clients is equally matched by nurturing local talent at an employee and management levels. How important is it to you that your staff are predominately Tanzanian? You are growing local talent and local ability?

Yeah, we pride ourselves to be a local bank with good, strong local talent. That we really just want to grow the local talent. But we know that we have an obligation to grow the local talent in banking. Because the Tanzanian market doesn’t have skilled bankers. So we have to create them. And we create them by giving them an opportunity to start working at the bank before they even finish their college certification. We bring them in as practicons. They do their practical course in the bank, and they go through various processes in the bank. And then gradually once they are about to finish we bring them as interns, they work with us, we identify the best ones, and we give them contracts and full employment after a year of internship. But what we do is that we have to develop them professionally, and we are collaborating with the international business schools. We are cooperating with the institutions themselves, African and business institutions, Tanzanian schools of business. We are working with them to make sure they get the right skills and the right exposures. We’re giving them exposures outside the country, especially those who are going to leadership positions. We are working to create our own MDs, our own CEOs, to come in the future. Who are about to leave the bank, who are ready. But we do also in that culture develop programs within the bank that are very strong. We are now going through our transition programs. There’s a Malaysian company, Malaysian institutional academy, which will be a credit in our training programs, in-house training programs. But I can tell you that the distance link program is in many. And this is sometimes called pastoral, every staff must be in one particular training at any one particular time. So they get time in training, and they get certified.

Now another achievement in terms of not just nurturing staff, you’ve achieved your goal of 5 percent market share two years ahead of time, and I’m talking about the performance of your Burundi operation. What has been the biggest factors underpinning this rapid rate of development there?

I can say that with the Burundi operation, the rate of success we have been able to achieve our targets within a very difficult oppressing environment. When we went there, the regime was calm, but it was to remain calm, but unfortunately just a year maybe two years in, the whole thing erupted into political crazy quarrel. But now as you can see things are stabilizing in the region. And with the help of the international community and the regional authorities there, things are coming along. But you can see what we did there was the strategy. Our strategy was that one thing that helped the strategy was the Burundis accepted us very well. They accepted the bank, and they opened accounts in a way which we did not even think about. I think some of them, they were local for years, because working there and seizure, it brought cross border. Even now we are thinking of going into the Congo and other places. We are learning the customs. So we have customers who are Burundians or Tanzanians who really enjoy our services, so we follow them. But the second thing was that we offered products and services that were different. We targeted customer service as the major offering. That we could open branches at times when others were closing. Even launched them when others were closing, we continued to offer our services. And we opened three outlets, we were planning to open more in the third year. There were almost four, other four, in other countries, stations, which were really good, but unfortunately the situation changed, and we had to change with it. But lastly the other thing that gave us an advantage was the fact that really we are targeting the digital channels. For example, right now what we are saying to ordinary families are words that talking cannot, but we are using our digital channels. Internet banking, something called SIM bank, which is a mobile platform, which is mobile, telephone. So with that we are able to attract customers who even think there is a rule. There is no rule. There is a lot of uncertainty. People sit on top of their couch and they can, so they are opening accounts. This is why I think that much of the institution’s works is not very conducive but still we are able to continue maintaining our profitability there. Of course, we’ve tried to reduce our costs so that we are able to continue making money.

Now earlier on you talked about the kind of micro-finance work that you’ve done. And you’re in the process of turning that subsidiary into a standalone bank. What benefits will such a move reap do you think for the group?

A big one. First of all we should say that the culture of the micro-finance operation, a micro-finance bank, should be different from the traditional banking culture. So by hosting it within our own bank, which is a traditional bank largely, we are failing to manage its inner core structure to justify more profits out of it. For example, in a micro-finance operation, you expect people to use motorcycles instead of cars to visit, or use bicycles to go and visit. Creating problems. But when you are working within a traditional bank it tends to be a little bit, it puts a brake on those because they think of themselves as bankers, normal bankers. So we have worries with this, we keep this operation outside as an independent operation. Unfortunately it is not possible because the regulator will not give us the opportunity to hold only one, and now they have allowed us to do it. So now we should be able to hire and run it so that it can create its own working platforms. One thing that should give us a big advantage is now you have more informal outlets but the digital part. We are giving them digital which means they can reach more customers much more easily and much more safely in line with a risk-based approach to customer care, normal customer requirements. So there will be able to run them. But now we also give them an opportunity to work with our, continue to work with our branch manager so they can add value and they can graduate customers from their micro, and I will say, back to the retail outlet. It should also help us in knowing exactly where we should locate new outlets. And the sizing of the outlets. Because the size is very important to manage the cost of the outlets. And I think that once we know that they have created a base of micro-entrepreneurial, micro operation somewhere, and the requirement is now for us to step in with a branch, or with the administrator for a service outlet, then we will go in. And then we know that we will break even almost within six months. As you come in. You already have a customer base. And the synergies would be working. We have a mobile branch, a branch of the trust. They have theirs, and we have ours. Now they will be able to work to connect the ecosystems. So that the customers will be able to work from that side can work with them and benefit from, the benefits of the integration of our delivery, especially the entire banking channels.

And within that the various ecosystems you’re running effectively one of the ones is obviously the telephone-based, online banking, the impact of digital. Now your Fast Account Opening mobile app enables a customer to get a bank account up and running in about five minutes and without the need to visit a physical bank branch. Really exciting new product. How important is it to you that the bank is able to offer innovative banking products?

Yes, I think this is something again that we are very much proud of. With this Fast Account Opening we’re really able to run our agile banking operation. Agile banking is, there are agents who can actually open accounts, who can offer similar teller, normal teller services to customers anywhere. Now without the Fast Account Opening, the agents could not open accounts at the speed we wanted. This means that they had to do to find they’re linked across the system. But this Fast Account Opening gives them a very easy way to communicate to get the courtesy and they are there to transmit our system, we get their account opened, activated in their account. Where we have already issued a card, a bank card to a customer at the time they have just boarded. So it is given. One thing is that we are now able to increase our customer base. You see the profitability of the bank is, which is what you are talking about, we usually be dependent on non-fund income. Non-fund income comes from volumes of customers who access our network, our delivery channels, whether they are alternative or the traditional ones, and transact. And each transaction has a fee, maybe a small fee, but with large volumes, this is the way you make money. So with the technology of the financial market that interest rates, margins, the average interest rate margin is about 10 percent. You cannot have it high forever. It’s going to come down to something more normal: 6, 5 percent. So what can compensate for that reduction in interest rate will be the income, the non-fund income, which the transaction fee income and our commission income. And I think the only way we can ensure that is to have the volumes, the customers, you must board customers into our systems, and they must feel very safe and very comfortable because they want to do transactions with traditional banking, withdrawal, deposit, but also make payments to utilities, make payments to anywhere they want to pay, they can pay for TVs, all that is available through the main bank. So again they are sitting in their houses; some of these people don’t drive to work, they don’t drive, because they think that the branch is somewhere where only people with time would go. But with their mobile phones in their home, they can access anything they want. So they will always make money for us.

I mean Africa appears to be leading the globe in the banking revolution. Do you expect that sector to continue growing rapidly for some time? And if so, is it an area in which you intend to allocate a greater proportion of resources?

Yes, I think that anyone would say that the future of Africa and the banking will continue to be redefined in terms of fintech. And any bank that is to survive and continue to sustainability will have to invest heavily in the digital systems. Not only invest in digital but make sure they are working reliably and the availability of the systems are good. And they say that in the digital area you have to ensure that everything is not perfect but is near perfect because you cannot test for everything. So I think even for the CRDB Bank if you want to continue maintaining our leadership position, you will have to continuously invest in alternative banking channels. Many traditional banks, the way their old systems are working, it’s no good working in Africa, we need to filter into fintech because we don’t have legacy systems that would bode us well. Most of the bank’s legacy systems are broke down, they are not OK. It’s expensive. There’s no accountability. But for us, we have leapfrogged into a digital bank. And so in a way we have to ensure that we sustain that leadership in that area. And this is really the first time that mobile telephone operators, mobile on many platforms. They are subsidized. And if we want to continue enjoying the benefits of banking, which is the payments system, the leaders of the payments systems in our country, we really have to disrupt the mobile banking system. Some day we will have the monopoly of the payments system. You can always if you have the benefits of managing the money, certification and so forth for the quality.

So fintech is enabling you to become much more agile in terms of developing systems. But in a more traditional manner, though, you’ve established country-specific business desks such as for China and India. How has that been going so far? And have they managed to meet their expectations to date?

Yes, I can tell you that one of the things that we are proud of, very much proud of is the China desk. Now we have also that desk. We have an evolving desk somewhere in the municipality where we have most of the operations. Where they live, most of them, in that case. So it’s evolving. And the challenging one is always. There are cultural differences in terms of whom they can trust. Especially the population they tend to have a very, very stringent or rather well-prescribed cultural differences. And we thought that by putting in place a unit desk that can speak modern, can speak the language. They know a little bit of the culture there. They can create the trust that you need from that community. You see, the Chinese community in Tanzania has grown tremendously. A lot of the large core trusts in the infrastructure, in the oil industries, they are growing sectors of the community fast. And it’s a challenge. And whether it’s the Chinese government, institutions, who are funding some of these. But of course the Chinese have built the bedrock so we have to reach Chinese community, the real Chinese community. Not too much. But it is growing, it is there. I don’t think it matters who finds China an easier source of raw material, raw material, industrial goods, and even some small tools. They also grow, they needed it, a base connecting them. And the same applies to us. So in a way I think the China desk has been very much successful. We’ve almost, our services are to 80 percent of the Chinese community in Tanzania is getting that. Either they’re getting loans, huge loans, trade finance, they’re getting most of their financial services from us. Despite really the Chinese economy is growing at an accelerated rate. But no one should expect the Chinese to grow the way it has been growing forever. Because initially they had productivity gains to do. And they had the initial stage of catching up. Now they have almost caught up. So the rate of China’s growth cannot be expected to be more than what is expected for the rest of the world. So then I think they will be coming down as they wish that the situation will continue for productivity growth. I don’t think you can expect them to grow 10 percent any more. You can expect Tanzania to grow 10 percent but not China, which has now almost exploited most of its productivity. The problem is that they needed to make for them to grow fast.

Learning from where China is and what its economy is doing, you’ve also initiated a comprehensive process review last year as a way to improve your operational performance within the bank. What were some of the key learning points from that review?

Yes, it was an initiative we introduced that, it was KMPG. We wanted someone, a third party, to look at what, whether we were operating under the right standards. We came to learn that centralization of some of the back office operations could give us a lot of mileage in terms of cost saving. That’s what we’ve done. So that with about 200 branches, each of them with back offices, more than seven people doing back office work, you could actually centralize. But the issue, the service you get from a centralized operation is that it’s more, it’s repetitive, the people there tend to know the processes better rather than the people every year who are unusual, they tend to compromise on the process and control procedures. So in a way we found that you can increase the quality, improve the quality by having a dedicated unit almost at the same time with fewer people, more professional, more qualitatively better. And I think we are very happy with choosing the layout of our branches. We now want the branch to focus more on the customer. Because originally the branch was loaded down with back office and forgot that the customer is the king. We are working for the customer. So now the branch is the front office. They have to find the customer, they have to ensure the customer is happy when he comes into that branch, and efficiency is the key. Speed is the key.

And you mentioned earlier the number of branches that you’ve opened recently.  How important would you say it has been for that expansion drive to access regions that have either been underbanked or unbanked altogether?

As I said, really if you wanted to focus more on non-fund income, and even then if you want to reduce the cost of funding, the only way is to tap into small depositors. Small depositors are in those remote areas that have never been reached. They are not really looking for interest rates. They are looking for somewhere, a safe avenue for their savings. So we found out that when you go up to a customer with these huge deposits and deliver. Right now we’ve seen that corporate deposits have almost dried up because the government has decided that the government corporations have to deal through the central bank. They have to put their deposits and savings there. So they transfer huge amounts into the central bank. So it’s a way of forcing banks to go and look for the best idea, and I think this has helped us to focus. And I think it was just a blessing in disguise that we had to open so many branches. But as I said, I think apart from those branches we have also made sure that these branches are service centers. Service centers which are small almost risk type outlets, and they are working for the branch. They are managed by the branch supervisor. They have a supervisor. But they are located, they are close to, they are very local, with about three, between three and five staff. So we are able to break into these small areas quickly. We usually put up government service centers, they were of the local governments, they were unique service close to their offices, but they are also serving the locals. We’re putting the mobile branches. But apart from that, the SIM banking, there are only more bank branches, our mobile platforms, which is the telephone operation. All these are putting a lot of the…some are synergized. And the head would use that reduced cost of funding, and the admin would increase the volumes of the transactions that the bank can perform from any particular time. The issue was whether the system could absorb so many transactions. So what we did was that we said that we have to improve our process. Where it is now, we have the best pace in all Tanzania, but not the best in the world. The system is run by my assistant, and we’re really glad, we’ve managed to do quite a bit since I came to the bank 20 years ago to where it is now. And they have been able to really revamp their system such that it is a system that we are passing through. The past, the output of the system is 200 transactions per second. The way that you had before was, last, before we went live with this last May which was taking only two transactions per second. Now we have made sure that we have the volumes already to go through. So I really feel that is a blessing. Our strategy has been working. The strategies work and as much as we were willing to work with a new one. But it’s still.

You mentioned 20 years, so you’ve had a long and illustrious career within the financial sector. How different is your current role as CEO and president of CRDB to your previous roles? For example, your time with the Bank of Tanzania?

I’m really glad that I left the central bank because I’ve learned a lot of new things. I’ve learned to work with the private sector. At the central bank you are really, you are almost shielded from any of this. There the risk is almost falling into a taxpayer somehow. But when you work for the private sector, you know that there are requirements of business. And if you are just interested in going back to the central bank, you have to think over a whole lot of things. To make them understand that a one day delay in their decision is almost a year, a year and some now for a business. So there are many things that. At the central bank I was the bank’s supervisor; I did the first set of the legislations and so forth. When I look at them, some of them don’t make much sense. For example, following the Basel standards, without challenging some of the issues, the requirements that Basel put around, banks you think are crazy because the balance sheet of my bank is only, one side is credit, the other side is deposit. So the risk I’m running is really a credit risk, and who valued the valuation of credit. That market is very, very. It is the same, a very competitive area. So if you are applying the same rules of banking as you apply in Europe, you are never booked various taxes of asset books. Some of the asset books are very, very farfetched assets because they have the reputation of the villager. You constrain the growth of the sector unnecessarily. Instead of looking at the real risk, which is the credit risk, you describe the use of the government to give you enough buffer because there are credit problems. You don’t pick up too much risk to stifle the growth. Because for business systems in Europe and US, they’ve grown, they’ve become systemic because they were allowed to grow. Now if you stifle those who are just evolving in Tanzania and in the rest of Africa, by using, by applying those systems, those systems will never grow. They will remain just a credit-driven system. So it’s hard getting people to think more beyond of course the sustaining bank to compare, we want to compare a positive. But no one would compare a grownup and an infant, because an infant bank needs to grow, to give it, to yield anything. And now they want to regime us, it’s almost they regimen us to be less because we came here, they are ready to provide for things that, to provide capital for things that are not there in my book.

One thing that has happened, though, is that you recently received your first ratings from Moody’s Investor Services. The first bank in Tanzania to do so.

The first institution. We were really very proud.

How big of an achievement do you consider this to be, and do you think it will have any bearing on how the bank is perceived globally?

Yeah, we went for the rating because we thought we needed it. We have really started to look for funding. For example, the SME, there are privately a lot of institutions that would want to offer SME facilities to banks in Africa, to banks in the Asian market. Because they know that this is where the growth is the world over. And also you can make some rates, higher rates, because they are both local, the way they operate with locals, they make more profits, so they are able to pay higher interest rates. So we thought that to pave the way and to open it to diverse funding base, a diverse funding base, because they are aware of this company. So we want our shares to become more liquid for people knowing what the bank is and getting interest and to invest in the shares and all that. So we thought that we should give comfort to those who come to do daily, to get to know us, knowing also that there is someone who is watching the performance of the bank, in terms of accountability, in terms of transparency, corporate governance. So we looked for that rating. So we not expect a very good rating, B1 stable, which is one of the best. It is for institutions in that subset in Africa. Because as you said we had the NPL issue and growth. And I think, when you look at it, anybody who looks at it, will tell you that this is very temporary. It is something that happens. It’s a cycle always. And if you give the resources as I told you someone knows that this isn’t a problem. And that bank is also very a systemic financial institution. Is it a bank that has the support of the government with very strong shareholders. So we have found it very good written. So I assure you it is going to help us in growing our balance sheet. It’s also going to give us a lot of comfort in terms of the way the international bank, other international financial institutions perceive the bank. But also we will be able to open accounts for some of those people who cannot open accounts with another bank. Now the only relevant issue is that the country could have been those who are subsidiaries of standard chartered, sheltered, because they are chartered there. So they have rating, course. But then with this rating, of course, it also gives us more or less an equal footing with our colleagues.

Charles, thank you very much for your time today.

Thank you so much. Thank you.


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