Uniting: Video Conferences with Network Banks & AH Management

Published by Aixa Alabi on

As employees are at the heart of AccessHolding´s Corona response strategy, we wanted to reach out to our colleagues around the network and share developments across the Group. With these meetings, we aimed to increase the sense of solidarity, empathy and understanding between AccessHolding and our network banks. We have already had these calls with four banks (AB Microfinance Bank Nigeria, AccèsBanque Madagascar, AB Bank Rwanda, and AccessBank Liberia). Each call was co-led by AccessHolding Management and the bank’s Management. Participants included the bank’s Management Board members, Heads of Departments, Branch Managers and Regional Managers. The main purpose of each call was to address, among others, the following questions:

  1. What would be the main focus of the bank during the pandemic from the point of view of AccessHolding?
  2. What support is the bank receiving from AccessHolding?
  3. How are the other banks in the network doing?
  4. What does the Corona crisis mean for the network banks until the end of the year and beyond?

The calls also allowed us to find out how our managers were actually doing during such an extraordinary time, be there for questions colleagues might have for AccessHolding, and, very importantly, actually say thank you for their continued commitment and loyalty.

The call with AccessHolding was very well received by the Management of the network banks. We have engaged local employees, who had the chance to voice their achievements, lessons learned, and changes brought by the pandemic. Employees had opportunities to ask questions and get answers, which brought the Holding Leadership & bank Management even closer together.

Empathy and understanding is paramount in the times of uncertainty and we proudly acknowledge we have moved many steps forward in this regard as a result of these engagement activities.

Here are a few more highlights and insights on the example of AB Microfinance Bank Nigeria:

Johannes Mainhardt (Chairman of the bank’s Supervisory Board) appreciated the outstanding crisis management of the bank during the COVID-19 lockdown. He pointed out that the repayments of the restructured portfolio, the resuming new loan disbursements and the development of the deposit portfolio seem very promising. AccessHolding will support the bank when it comes to securing additional funding and equity in view of the increased minimum capital requirements imposed by the Central Bank of Nigeria. AccessHolding will support the bank in the further expansion of operations into new regions and in advancing the digital agenda.

Nearly 50 middle managers have attended the call and many of them have thanked the ABN board for putting job security first (and not letting employees go) when reacting to decreased income and profitability. This will also be to the benefit of the bank once it is again able to expand as planned.

One question from ABN managers was whether AccessGroup will support ABN to enlarge its products. Our answer? We are open to promising business cases but we always should have the courage to say no if it is not working out; we, as one of the biggest microfinance institutions in the country, have a strong competitive advantage in what we are doing and we should aim at getting even more and being better at it. Big banks are simply not able to do what we are doing.

Staff feedback (don’t we all love this quick Zoom poll option?) was that the bank managers also saw a benefit in having this type of video call and we plan to do something like this again in six months’ time. We are already truly looking forward to it!

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