Who is Mr Fabian Kasi?
I am the Managing Director of Centenary Bank, a position I have been holding for five years now. I do a few other things as well, for example: I am the Vice Chairman of the Uganda Banker’s Association. I sit on several boards and I am a Rotarian.
You are one of the panelists at this Year’s forum. What should participants expect to learn from you?
We’ll share experiences regarding what is taking place in the financial services industry. We’ll discuss the evolutions in the industry and deliberate on the best ways to cope with those evolutions.
This year’s theme is Surfing the Tsunami. What does this mean to Uganda’s business community?
We are looking at the tsunami to be the challenges that are facing businesses especially from the perspective of where I am coming from; the banking industry. Lately, there are very many regulations that are coming on board, such as; the changing needs of the clients, the evolution of technology, the coming into play of so many competitors (both traditional and untraditional, global and local). The question worth answering is how do we continue catering for clients’ needs and being relevant.
What do you make of the performance of Uganda’s banking industry?
It has been sound and strong. Two years back we had the highest inflation this country has experienced over a long time. This affected many things including the businesses of the clients that the banks finance. Consequently the banks also faced challenges in ensuring that the people they lent their money are able to pay back. This affected our performance. However, the good news is that we are seeing the industry slowly wriggling out of that situation as the environment improves; as the environment becomes more vibrant. We are looking to brighter times ahead.
What has been the secret to Centenary performance and eventual recognition as the fastest growing local bank?
Centenary Bank was set up on the foundation of the church, as a bank that would cater for those who had been left out by the day’s financial system. This has been and is still the bank’s mission. We have developed products to meet the needs of the ordinary Ugandans. We have opened up points of presence of service where the clients are. Centenary is the only bank or one of the two that you will find in remote areas of the country. In a nutshell, the values we have embracing as well as the vision and mission we have been holding have enabled us to deliver on our promises to the clients and we believe this is the reason the bank has been able to grow to the level where we are, currently.
What are some of the challenges that the industry is facing?
Human capital is top on the list. It is challenging to get staff that are able to do what is expected of them by the institution. There are also challenges of fraud. Ours being an industry that deals with money the temptations are high. But the police and the judiciary have been resourceful in the fight against this vice.
There are challenges of long term funding. Banks need long term funding so that they are able to finance long term projects. Most banks depend on deposits from the public which are typically short term. Somebody keeps his or her money with the bank today, tomorrow he withdraws it. And you cannot stand in their way. Well there has been access to the long term funding, in some instances, however there is need for more.
Where do you see the industry in the next five years?
We will be seeing banks developing many products and using a lot of technology. Mobile banking will become critical for the delivery of services. I guess we will also be seeing the use of agents to deliver our services through agency banking, linkage banking, linking with other institutions to ensure that banks continue to reach out and increase on their business because of the competition that is growing. There will be alliances and partnerships similar to the ones we are already seeing with the mobile network operators to deliver mobile money. So going forward, these are some of the things that we shall be seeing regularly.