By Samantha Barnes, International Banker
Moza Banco, S.A., also known as Moza, is a Mozambican commercial bank, operating since June 2008, offering high-quality and innovative products and services to customers from different market sectors. During this year in which the bank celebrates its 10th anniversary, Moza has adopted a customer-centered “relational model”, inspired by the customer as the centre of its strategic positioning.
“The customer is at the heart of our business model. Therefore, we took on a new approach and adopted a new identity: one of a relational bank rather than a transactional bank, thus seeking to understand the customers’ needs, to provide innovative solutions and build long-term relationships based on trust,” João Figueiredo, Moza Banco’s chief executive officer, points out.
According to its CEO, in the upcoming years, the bank is expected to keep the growth trend in accordance with the strategy set out by shareholders, thereby increasing its contribution to the development of Mozambique.“Moza will maintain its essence as a universal bank, with a diversified offer and a well-defined approach to each of its segments, favouring the use of appropriate technology and the distribution channels that best fit the institution’s presence in the market,” he adds.
Digital transformation to boost financial inclusion
Despite the significant evolution in Mozambique’s financial services, the majority of the population is not yet “bancarised”. Approximately only around 20 percent of about 15 million adult people are formally financially included. There is also a relatively small supply of products and services specifically created and marketed to meet the needs of certain social and business segments with weak or non-existent access to financial services, such as small farmers, low-income households living in urban and peri-urban areas, small and medium-sized enterprises.
This is also a concern for Moza. The bank particularly views these challenges as an enormous opportunity for innovation and further growth using technology, according to its CEO. Championing services such as mobile-money solutions and agent banking, Moza is using technology and innovation to conceive and offer affordable, instant and reliable financial services to urban neighbourhoods and rural villages, areas in which no bank may have established a branch before.
Moza has the third largest branch network of the country, comprised of more than 55 branches scattered around all provinces. Nonetheless, Figueiredo argues that they are well aware that this process of financial inclusion cannot be achieved only through the physical expansion of bank branches. “It is rather a combined process, with a strong focus on digital banking, and through widening the offer of affordable products and services that meet the needs and concerns of local populations.”
In June 2017, the bank’s shareholders approved the implementation of the Strategic Plan for the period 2017-2020. In this current cycle, Moza Banco places great emphasis on technology and innovation, and has already initiated a process for digital transformation focusing on customers.
“By going digital, our main goal is optimizing the customer experience and enhancing customer service in a consistent way, allowing multichannel digital interactions. In parallel, digitization is crucial for developing new offerings, products and services that are adapted to the evolving customer reality and to different segments. Needless to say, it will drive our growth, expand our presence and client base, in a cost-effective manner, thus contributing for financial inclusion,” Figueiredo explains.
There is a challenge inherent in the mass use of digital, and it is up to Moza to ensure that its relational-banking matrix is not “lost” due to the physical distance created by the use of digital by these clients. According to Figueiredo, “for that reason, we are combining the digital offering with the face-to-face offering, as we believe branches remain relevant, particularly where customers need advice or extra face-to-face conversations. It is also this relation that inspires us to innovate and improve our offerings.”
Figueiredo believes the way in which Moza Banco adopts unique innovations and business approaches helps to distinguish it from its competitors. “We have been awarded several times as ’the most innovate bank’ in Mozambique and in the Southern African region, pioneering projects with huge potential of transforming and contributing to financial inclusion, particularly to the financially excluded.”
One way in which the Mozambican bank is making waves in the sector is through its use of agent banking, whereby a banking agent—that is a retail or postal outlet—processes clients’ transactions on behalf of the bank. Moza was the first bank in the country to accredit a banking agent in 2015, once again innovating and leading the process of financial inclusion and banking in Mozambique.
“Banking agent will change the picture of financial inclusion in our country,” Figueiredo believes. “Through this, the population,especially from more remote areas, can access Moza’s banking services in comfort and convenience.”
Following its innovative pathway, Moza has initiated the process of installation of Digital Kiosks,which are self-service terminals, similar to ATMs (automated teller machines). At these terminals, transactions can be carried out using a card or cash.
“Digital Kiosks are the ultimate expression of a solution that can be implemented anywhere and quickly, ensuring the presence of the bank at any point considered strategic to the business and to customers, including in some cases, non-customers. They, in turn, will have at their immediate disposal a banking channel that they can use to carry out all types of banking transactions, according to their convenience and availability. Contact with these devices by unbanked users allows them to become familiar with payments and banking transactions, which has the potential to promote the relationship with the bank,” Figueiredo explains.
By all accounts, it seems Moza Banco has an expansive portfolio on offer, and the firm shows no signs of slowing down its innovation.
The bank is also focusing on enhancing the mobile solution as an affordable and quick way to facilitate payments and other transactions.“In Mozambique, around five million people have bank accounts, yet 18 million people have a mobile phone. Therefore, mobile banking is also a key way to get to non-banking clients in the country,” explains Figueiredo.
Using mobile phones to facilitate payments offers several benefits, including expanding access, driving down costs and increasing the convenience of transactions.
It’s a fact that there is still a long way to go to reach satisfactory levels of financial inclusion, but with the commitment of financial institutions and their partners, including the efforts of the Mozambican government, and the recent developments in mobile solutions, the future is bright.