By Duncan Mlanjira
Standard Bank Plc, one of Malawi’s leading financial service providers and is a subsidiary of Africa’s largest bank by assets, the Standard Bank Group, is commemorating its 50th Anniversary of doing business in Malawi starting from Thursday, April 11.
From humble beginning as Commercial Bank of Malawi (CBM), Standard Bank has grown in stature to become one of Malawi’s leading banks, whose working capital has grown from MK2.5 million in 1969 to MK313.5 billion (approximately US$437 million) in 2019.
A statement from the bank says it’s branch network has grown to 27 outlets nationwide — an average of a branch in every district of Malawi.
“Standard Bank takes pride in its legacy as a pioneer and innovator. From becoming the first bank in Malawi, the bank has scored many firsts along its 50-year-old history.“Some of the notable firsts include being the first to offer an ATM when ATMs were first introduced in Malawi, the first bank to appoint a woman branch manager and the first to have its CEO appointed as the Governor of the Malawi Central Bank, [late Victor Mbewe].
“Standard Bank Malawi is also the only bank to maintain a Drive-In banking facility at its Ginnery Corner branch in Blantyre.”
The bank, which is listed on the Malawi Stock Exchange (MSE), says it has lined up a number of activities to commemorate the anniversary, starting with a high-profile stakeholders’ appreciation dinner on April 30 at Bingu International Conference Centre (BICC) in Lilongwe where Standard Bank Chief Executive (Africa Regions) Sola David-Bohra will be in attendance.
“On the occasion of our Golden Jubilee, we invite all our stakeholders and partners to join us in celebrating this great milestone,” said Chief Executive Officer William le Roux. “We look forward to hosting our various customers, the regulator, private sector, NGOs and international organizations.
“Standard Bank wishes to express its profound gratitude to all Malawians and key partners for their support during our first 50 years. We promise to remain a solid partner in the many decades to come.
“We would also like to take this opportunity to thank and recognize all employees for their role in supporting growth of the Bank. To our former employees, we continue to fondly remember your contributions which have been the building blocks of where we are today,” le Roux said.
The Bank’s Historic Context
Previously known as Commercial Bank of Malawi (CBM), the Bank was registered on 15th March 1969 as a joint venture between Malawi Government, Press Corporation, (then Press Holdings Ltd) and Banco Pinto Sotto Mayor.
The Bank opened its first branch in present-day Limbe in Blantyre, Malawi’s commercial city on 11th April. It soon grew with branch network in Lilongwe, Mzuzu, Balaka, Mangochi, Dedza, Kasungu and Zomba.
As part of its growth journey, the bank invested in two subsidiaries — Standard Bank Financial Services and Bain Hogg Insurance — to tap into the financial service advisory and insurance sectors.
By 1984, Standard Bank had become a wholly owned Malawian bank with local shareholders comprising the Malawi Development Corporation (MDC) which held 20%, Press Holdings 40%. Malawi Government 30% and Admarc 10%.
In 1998 government diluted its shareholding by selling to Malawians and other investors through a listing on the Malawi Stock Exchange (MSE).
In 2001, Standard Bank, through its subsidiary Stanbic Africa Holdings acquired a majority stake of 60 percent stake in the then CBM, changing its trading name to Stanbic Bank. On June 1, 2007 the name change process was completed by reverting to Standard Bank.
Standard Bank Group, to which Standard Bank Malawi is part of, is Africa’s largest bank by assets, which is listed on JSE in Johannesburg, South Africa. The holding company is 20 percent owned by the world’s largest merchant and investment bank, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC).
Chief Executive le Roux says Standard Bank will continue to pay attention to the needs of customers and to moving them forward along with technological changes that have ushered digital and virtual banking.
“In the past 50 years, we set the pace. Standard Bank sees the next 50 years as another opportunity to improve on the accomplishments of the past,” he said.
Other activities lined up spread across several months of the year 2019 to commemorate the Golden Jubilee include:
- The Black Tie high level stakeholders & customer dinner on April 30 that bringing together customers, staff, directors and other key stakeholders;
- The Be More Race @ 50 on June 15, which will in its third edition that takes place in Lilongwe and;
- The Be More @ 50 Invitational Golf on July 27 at Lilongwe Golf Club.