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TNM chief challenges banks on digitization

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By Mc Donald Chapalapata:

TNM Chief Executive Officer, Michiel Buitelaar, last week challenged commercial banks to remain innovative and embrace digital evolution as soon they may do away with the traditional brick and mortar.

Presenting a paper on ‘Digital Transformation in consumer industries’ at the 5th Bankers Conference 2020 on Thursday in Blantyre, Buitelaar gave an example of a bank called Knab in his home country Netherlands which has no branches and buildings but offers services through digital means only.

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Buitelaar said service companies will be able to offer personalised offers to customers through digital means and appealed to Malawian service providers to embrace this.

Buitelaar said some cynics may say that Malawi cannot achieve digital transformation because of low broadband penetration, low internet penetration, low electricity penetration, low income and low digital literacy.

“But Malawians are not so different, they are embracing the internet. There are opportunities for Malawi in that there is limited legacy and these are early days with a young population that possess vast skills which may have big impact on sectors of the economy,” said Buitelaar.

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Opening the conference, Reserve Bank of Malawi (RBM) Governor, Wilson Banda, bemoaned the effects of Covid-19 pandemic on the banking sector.

He, however, thanked industry players for providing a relief to customers and businesses during the time.

He said the banking sector is pivotal in driving economic recovery and securing future stability by providing finance.

“Covid-19 has redefined the environment, leaving limited room for conventional business models. Therefore, the path we take, shall inform the growth trajectory and adaptability of our economy to future shocks which are certain to come; and that future is now,” Banda said.

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