Access Interview: Narindra Randrianarisoa, Deputy CEO Responsible for Business Development and Branchless Banking of AccèsBanque Madagascar
By Ivana Mitrovic
Narindra Randrianarisoa joined the Bank in 2010 as a Client Advisor and has been Deputy CEO responsible for Business Development and Branchless Banking of AccèsBanque Madagascar since 2021. Before being promoted to this position, she developed different functions such as Head of Customer Service, Head of Administration and Head of the Branch Network.
I am proud of what ABM has achieved so far in terms of innovation. Not only have we developed platforms for clients’ easy access to their accounts, such as MyAccès, MyABM, but we have also made several applications for internal use for better efficiency.
Narindra, 12 years ago, you started as a Client Advisor, and now you are Deputy CEO and responsible for business innovations in the bank. Congratulation on your success – it is impressive indeed! How did your journey look? What was for you the most significant challenge or impediment you had to remove so far?
First of all, I would like to share that my journey within AccèsBanque Madagascar would rather be attributed to destiny. When I submitted my application to join the bank, the receptionist told me that the bank never accepted unsolicited applications. Fortunately, the lady was kind and informed me that they had published a job advertisement and suggested which papers to buy. I then referred to that old newspaper, and my amazing journey with AccèsBanque started.
My adventure has encountered highs and lows, like any other wonderful adventure. The experience gained during the two years working as a Client Advisor was the main foundation for my success. It helped me discover the fantastic world of the banking sector with its different aspects. Understanding clients’ needs and behaviours encouraged me to consider things from different perspectives and shaped my personality in the professional domain. Such experience had facilitated my access to various positions in the Head Office. I was a Quality Agent, an SME Relationship Officer, the Head of Administration, the Head of the Branch Network and now the Head of Business Development. Each of the steps I went through constitutes an important path to where I am now.
The biggest challenge was, and I will never forget it, when I had just been appointed as the Head of Administration. In two days, when I was still learning about what, how and when everything was working, I was required to make the most difficult decision in my life. The normal continuation of operations with a few branches was at stake, and the CEO, who is supposed to be the last resort, was not available as he was on a business trip. The feeling that the whole world was looking at you and expecting the right decision made me uncomfortable: as if I had had a nightmare and were striving to wake up but in vain. At that time, I said to myself: “If I survive from this experience, nothing can stop me in the future.” I have not only survived, but that challenging experience has made me stronger and taught me a lot about quick decision making.
Since the new year only began, we summarize the results of the one that finished. ABM achieved a positive financial result in 2021; what do you think contributed most to that?
The Bank has remained profitable during the last two years, even though we went through a pandemic. Thinking about the reasons for it, I can say one word: “teamwork”.
In fact, in a big institution like AccèsBanque Madagascar, having eight members of management sitting and discussing strategy is not that common. We meet once a week, listen to each other and work together as a team to achieve the result.
Also, one important thing that leads the bank to its position now is the digital transformation that we are going through. I am very proud of the speed our bank achieved regarding digitalization.
Adopting Agile, which led to decreasing time to market, was crucial for our fast transformation.
You took over the digital innovations of the bank three years ago. How does it look like when one is responsible for the bank’s digitalization?
Being behind the bank’s digitalization is a continuous adrenaline rush. Dealing with internet network problems and server breakdowns are additional issues that one needs to face in addition to innovation.
I am proud of what ABM has achieved so far in terms of innovation. Not only have we developed platforms for clients’ easy access to their accounts, such as MyAccès, MyABM, but we have also made several applications for internal use for better efficiency. 75% of the tools we use have been created within the Innovation Unit collaborating with our strong team of developers, which gives us complete autonomy and authority on the platforms.
As a result of the synergy between our IT developers and the Project Unit, the list of department’s requests for the projects related to automation increased. Additionally, the Management Board is growing more and more their appetite for the automation process. Our calendar is already full of innovative ideas.
What do you consider the main achievements of your department so far? What are you planning next to prove further that ABM is a customer-centric institution?
We have empowered the loan analysis methodology by creating Quick A, our loan management system on Messenger. The loan processing time has never been as short as now in Madagascar. We can disburse a loan in a few hours, whereas it took a minimum of two days before.
In addition to that, our introduction of Messenger as a tool for financial services is changing the way of transacting. Different tools have been created through Chatbot on Messenger: data collection for loan granting purposes, MyAccès for instant access to the client’s banking account and monitoring tools, amongst others. We are the only bank in Madagascar that gives its clients full, direct and instant access to their accounts for all types of transactions through Messenger. We are very proud to be innovators on the market and that other financial institutions follow with gradually introducing Chatbot, though it is pretty limited to client advisory so far.
Looking at the ABM’S Management Board structure, we have a perfect balance – 50% are female, and 50% are male, which is fantastic. How would you describe the role and position of women in Madagascar in general? Did that defer somehow from the attitude in ABM?
Until recently, women have struggled for equal responsibility as men in Madagascar. But within ABM, a person’s success is rather attributed to their performance and not to gender. Moreover, non-discrimination and performance are among the six key values of the bank. This share of gender is also observed among the heads of departments and different leading positions.
Which events or persons made you the person you are today? And, in your career, what are the most important lessons you learnt worth sharing with all of us?
I lost my dad when I was 11. At the age of 15, I had to study and work at the same time as I got my high school diploma. Even young, such experience already makes one stronger.
What I have learnt is that we are our own limitations. If 12 years ago, someone had told me I would be the head of innovation within ABM, I would have thought that that person must be crazy.