Access Interview: Raharinavalona Randriamanantena, Chief Customer Function Officer at AccèsBanque Madagascar
By Ivana Mitrovic
Raharinavalona (Anna) Randriamanantena joined AccèsBanque Madagascar in 2006. She has more than fifteen years of extensive experience in MSME. Today she is Chief Customer Function Officer. She is Certified Expert in SME Finance and Expert in Risk Management by Frankfurt School of Finance. Raharinavalona participated in the EIB SME & Microfinance Academy and IFC Global Trade Finance Program.
We follow the idea of continuous improvement and nurture the spirit of “people first”, our main effort in managing change is to prepare and motivate our employees to accept a new direction.
Anna, this year AccèsBanque Madagascar is celebrating its 15th anniversary – tell us, how do you celebrate?
Yes, this year, we celebrate our 15th anniversary, and we have prepared various programs focused equally on the customers and staff of the bank.
First, we have organised an extensive media campaign on TV, radio, and billboards choosing “Crystal” as a theme and our campaign slogan:
“Today of the future”: a new look at what we want to have and project for tomorrow.
Crystal is the traditional material for the 15th anniversary because it symbolises lightness, clarity, and durability. Crystal is a stone which remains bright even after it has gone through many trials. It marks our relationship with the Malagasy people and is the metaphor for the Malagasy business life during a political crisis, covid 19, inflation, and change in the market. The crystal is as transparent as we are – transparency is one of our corporative values.
Next, we have prepared the Big Tombola with attractive awards for all our clients. For our most loyal clients who have worked with the bank since the beginning, we prepared unique tokens of gratitude; plus, each month, 60 happy winners get an amount of 200.000 MGA.
And finally, we have created a unique challenge for our staff: we have valuable presents for teams and employees being the most successful in customer acquisition.
What does that mean for you? How does it feel being with the institution from the beginning and celebrating the 15th jubilee this year?
Working for 15 years for the same company tends to trigger astonishment since it is not very common. Today employees regularly change jobs, which is very good insofar as it allows them to discover other ways of doing things. Personally, during these 15 years at AccesBanque, I regret nothing. When you share the values and the spirit of the company and get involved in doing your job well, it is possible to flourish there. And I am pleased and very proud to celebrate these 15 years of anniversary with the bank.
Speaking of the beginnings, you started as a loan officer. Was it different working as a loan officer 15 years ago and today? Is there something that remained unchanged?
If we talk about the methodology or loan assessment, it remains the same, but with the new approach and the structure we have implemented, “the credit journey” has changed a lot. We have separate departments responsible for client acquisition (1), services (2) and a department that focuses on portfolio at risk management (3). Now, we use a quick-assessment technology that allows the bank to do the analysis remotely and to inform about the decision within 90 minutes.
Last year, the bank started with the reorganization process to improve the client’s experience. Can you tell us more about this project and how that affected your unit?
As already explained, the system has changed a lot. The most crucial point is our value proposition for our clients: speed, response to their specific needs, innovative customer-centric approach, focus on new and diversified channels to reach our rural clients and improve financial inclusion. All this is now possible thanks to innovations, new technology, digitalization and specialization of the work.
What were the main challenges you had to resolve during this reorganization process?
There are challenges in each change, and it is our job, as managers, to focus on people and ensure that the process is complete. In such times when we integrate new ways of doing things, we have to make our employees feel secure by improving internal communication, involving everyone and finding a way to share a common vision.
My journey has taught me the importance of understanding the value of teamwork and accepting individual differences. We follow the idea of continuous improvement and nurture the spirit of “people first”, so, logically, our main effort in managing change is to prepare and motivate our employees to accept a new direction.
For ABM, financial inclusion is one of the main goals. Do you undertake any particular actions to better understand your clients or improve Malagasy people’s financial education and access to financial services?
We consider financial inclusion our priority, so we continuously work on the financial education of our clients. We are producing video content explaining various financial services: how they work, when is the best time to use them, how to use them most securely and what could be the impact they could expect in the future. Our communication targets the mass market with simple, everyday and easy-to-understand language. Our marketing campaigns focus on helping our clients understand their needs and the best ways to improve their financial situation by working with the bank.
Having a successful career is not always easy. What made you the person you are today? Was there something you had to abandon to get what you have today?
I had the chance to meet people within the group who trusted me and helped me progress. I seized the opportunities that a group of this size can offer, a few of them being frequent training and sharing experiences and lessons from the various regions. And I have always appreciated the relationships between people, openness and readiness for collaboration.