Mmegi/The Reporter (Gaborone)

26 February 2009

Botswana: Capital Bank Bullish Despite Crisis

Francistown — Capital Bank has officially launched a branch in Francistown. The bank chairman Hitesh Anadkat said they would like to do business in Francistown even through the rough times.

"We are positive in the long term future of this area," he stated. He said that Capital Bank opened a branch in Francistown in record time. "The first branch opened in Gaborone last year and we opened a second branch in Francistown in record time," he said.

He added that when they started applying for the licence, the people and even the central bank wondered if their business will benefit Botswana. He said that the central bank might have wondered how a bank from a small economy like Malawi could compete in a much larger economy with so many international banks.

"They studied us for two years and went through the bank with a fine tooth comb and concluded that not only did we deserve a banking licence, but we would be good for Botswana," he said.

He stated that Capital Bank is an African entity that has its roots in Malawi. The bank with over 2,000 shareholders has been awarded bank of the year award by the international banker magazine.

Anadkat stated that they like Botswana because of a number of reasons. "While Botswana has reputable banks, we believe that no bank can match us in serving our niche market. This niche is the small to medium or SME sector. We also will not try to be all things to all people, but try to provide superb service to our niche," he said.

He stated that they believed that by providing great service, they will attract customers and become profitable. "Indeed so far, our growth in Gaborone has surpassed our expectations and we have already met our July business targets," stated Anadkat.

Among the shareholders of Capital Bank are Rasik Kantaria, chairman of First Merchant Bank in Malawi (FMB) and Prime Bank in Kenya; Mmapula Modise, career civil servant; the recently retired Ombudsman Lethebe Maine; director of Kgalagadi Plastics, Raj Patel; Steve Pezzaro, a corporate finance specialist based in Botswana.

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