Access Interview: Norosoa Andriamanampy Rafidison, Deputy CEO in charge of Banking Operations in AccèsBanque Madagascar

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By Ivana Mitrovic

Norosoa joined AccèsBanque Madagascar in 2007 and has passed all stages in the bank – from Client Advisor to Branch Manager to the Head of Big Clients, and, finally, Deputy CEO in charge of Banking operations.

Her role is to ensure the smooth functioning of the bank, strict compliance with local and international regulations, and the accurate and timely formalization of the bank’s transactions. It is essential and complex to manage this function for a Bank with over 230,000 clients and around 10,000 customer transactions daily.

There are no limits to perfection. It is a continuous process, and we will keep improving to provide our clients with the best quality of operations.

Norosoa, you lead the Banking Operations unit in AccèsBanque Madagascar. Can you share more details about its structure and role in the bank?

As has been said before, this is a tremendous responsibility. Comparing the bank with the human body, we can say that the banking operation is the heart of the bank that makes money moving—no need to explain how important the heart is.

Our activity is performed through the head office-based Center of Operations, which employs over 45 people. These people are responsible for preparing and executing all transactions, reconciliation, allocation of fees and commissions, and many other things. Imagine 45 people and 10,000 transactions per day. It’s a lot! The regulatory environment changes, the rules are updated, and we need to keep track of all of this and react timely. The department’s work requires nearly ideal organization of processes, segregation of duties, and strict, multi-level controls as the price of an error could be extremely high.

The Bank has undergone a digital transformation over the last few years. What is the role of your unit in this transition? Which projects significantly impacted how the bank’s business is done?

Interesting question. Imagine doing heart surgery for an athlete running a marathon while you do it – this would describe what we lived through in the past years. Digital transformation changes operations a lot: the number of transactions is growing, and the methods of control are changing. You cannot stop the bank’s work even for a day to adjust to it, so one has to be very creative to handle all the changes in the environment where you need to continue supporting the bank’s work every day.

We have a great and super dedicated team in my department. Everyone understands the challenges and the importance of the work. Sometimes we had to work Saturdays and Sundays to ensure that our clients could enjoy smooth transactions when the bank opened on Monday. But we did it, and I’m very proud of that!

Apart from this, we must constantly look at efficiency and waste reduction, making our processes as lean as possible. The bank is snowballing, and we are onboarding many new clients every month, so we need to consider how to serve them without proportionally adding resources. I can speak a lot about that, but it is for sure not an easy task.

The environment is changing rapidly, and estimating the proper future steps isn’t always easy. How did the bank adjust to the market? What are the plans to increase its agility and flexibility?

The volume of changes that we are implementing is enormous. We have implemented the new credit process, new products for clients, and new channels. We made 2022 a year of Lean Management. Starting from the Yellow Belt Certification for the Heads of Units, we continued with the 5S organization of the workplaces. We employ many lean practices in performance management. Together with the IT Dev, we have developed many tools and systems that allowed the better organization of the processes and controls. And we keep improving them every day.

But the most crucial part is the employees, the people who work in the department.

The one who does knows. It means that the changes in work are impossible without the engagement of the members of the team. They do this work every day, see the inefficiencies, and get ideas on how to improve.  

Opening this channel, allowing people to propose changes and innovations, increases efficiency and motivation considerably. There are no limits to perfection. It is a continuous process, and we will keep improving to provide our clients with the best quality of operations.

Can you tell us more about the bank’s strategy? What are the long-term goals you plan to achieve in the incoming years?

We focus on operational excellence in all aspects: digitalization, becoming paperless in all our processes and making our customers use digital channels. All our innovations will be on that trend, and we are confident of achieving it.

Your career is awe-inspiring. Could you share more about your journey with the bank over the last 15 years? What made you who you are today, and what challenges have you overcome?

The journey was long, and it was very bumpy sometimes. Keeping optimistic, learning from mistakes, and thinking of clients and the team – are the things that I consider essential.

Managing changes, supporting the team for those changes, and keeping in mind that work has to be done to meet the client’s expectations. I am telling you, it was rugged and very tough sometimes. Humanly speaking, it is attacking your emotions and playing that much on how you behave: some tears, disputes, laughing and smiles, but in the end, everything went well with this determination and firm intention to succeed.

Many things have happened to me in these 15 years, but I am grateful for the experience.

Please share with us the crucial lessons you have learnt and what you would do differently now if you could?

“My evidence is not your evidence” this speaks a lot for me during all this time and teaches me to constantly communicate and never give up in front of any situation. Focusing on the objective and succeeding is very important for me.

In this part, I would express that I am also very thankful to have the support of the Chairman of the Board of Directors. He supported me and taught me lessons to make me stronger and not give up during challenging situations. If we are where we are now, it is also because we are receiving permanent support from our Board of Directors to continue all the innovation we are living on now.

I love being a part of this great team and family – AccèsBanque. Better things are yet to come, and we are here to succeed in satisfying our clients, simultaneously keeping our team as engaged as always while excelling and achieving the target together.

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