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Insights on the BICIM’s success!

The International Bank for Trade and Industry at Mali (BICIM) is a subsidiary of the BNP Paribas Group and is headquartered in Bamako, Mali. Although BICIM has operated in Mali since 1999, it underwent an extensive revamping of its activities under its new business model in 2016-17. With recent interactions with Mr. Samir Mezine, chief executive officer of BICIM, we found out that BICIM had taken its responsibility to support Mali’s economic development seriously by providing financial backing to productive sectors of the economy. On further discussions, he shared the bank’s aims and goals in progressing to provide a customized service to its clients.

The very first thing he shared was the significant ways in which BICIM had worked and continues to stand tall between its banking peers within the local market. He said, “At BICIM, our sales officers adopt a posture adapted to each segment of clients in their portfolios. Each client has a dedicated account manager who provides a personalized client journey. The account manager is at the client’s service to answer his expectations and support him in achieving his projects.” There are action plans which are taken as soon as the client enters the relationship with the bank, which would be carried out by their support, like Frequent follow-up with clients , Visits onsite, Specific and adapted products or solutions (mainly related to cash management).  “BICIM’s ambition is to become the bank with the closest relationships with its clients. This is why BICIM organizes interactive training sessions with its clients once a year in order to enable them to discover the bank’s global offer and the innovations to come. We make available to our clients business experts dedicated to financial wealth management, cash management, trade finance, trading room, international trade and leasing, in addition to the account managers responsible for the management of accounts, to give customers the best possible routes in our bank.” He considers that whatever the initiatives taken by them and mentioned above are unique in Mali and it was that makes BICIM stand above in the market.

Next, he shared about his 20 years of operation and what had been the bank’s highlight in success making and what had been the biggest challenge the bank had to face. He believed that the bank’s biggest success was itself the biggest challenge and said, “Indeed, in 2016, BICIM set up the biggest challenge that a company can face: the change of business model. The bank started focusing on a niche market, “prestige” customers and big corporate clients, by improving its offer and adjusting its sales system. This new approach resulted in the closing of six branches and several thousand accounts on our books in order to concentrate our efforts on fewer high-level clients. Today, we can conclude that BICIM has brilliantly taken up the challenge of this new positioning in our market.” 

When asked about the satisfaction he shared with the retail banking products offered by BICIM , he said that he was rather satisfied when compared to his competitors. As the products offered were among the best in the market in the terms of stability, security, reliability and performance. “Setting up a chatbot on our institutional websites and our social networks would assure continuity of our services 24 hours a day—for example, answering any questions from customers and offering our products and services remotely, even in the event of unavailability or inaccessibility to the bank and the account manager.”

To conclude by the single biggest goal achieved as the CEO he said, “My single biggest goal was to change the bank. I succeeded in promoting a new vision of a bank in Mali, a bank more oriented on responsible and social values.  I launched the first art exhibition in the bank, BICIM Amie des Arts, in 2018 and 2019. I also launched the first BICIM Jazz Night in 2018 and in 2019 to promote the music of Mali with a jazz footprint. I’m proud to say that our bank and my teams are definitively different and more responsible.”

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Goldman banker hired by the Citi bank

Citigroup has hired Luisa Leyenaar-Huntingford from Goldman Sachs. This new hire is to co-head its global infrastructure franchise. Because, it seeks to win more business from cash-rich investment firms focusing on infrastructure deals. Leyenaar-Huntingford will be based in London. Responsibility will be shared with Todd Guenther in New York.

The pair will work closely with industry teams covering healthcare, industrials, natural resources and clean energy transition (NRCET), technology and communications. Leyenaar-Huntingford helped in the establishment of the Goldman’s infrastructure franchise in her time at the Wall Street bank. They will team up with Citi’s Iberia co-head of banking, capital markets and advisory (BCMA) Jorge Ramos will continue to be a senior member of the global infrastructure franchise.

The infrastructure sector is poised for further growth, according to the memo. The memo was released by Citi’s global co-heads of the alternative assets group Anthony Diamandakis and John Eydenberg, and its EMEA head of BCMA Nacho Gutierrez-Orrantia. There was significant private investment demand across the globe to deal with environmental, energy, transportation, waste, communication, digital and other social needs.

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Banks make slow progress on UK gender pay

Major banks in Britain made a slight dent in their gender pay gaps. Several insurers went backwards. Companies in Britain with more than 250 employees have been required to publish the difference between the pay and bonuses of their male and female employees. They got a reprieve due to the pandemic, last year. The financial services sector has shown one of the largest genders pay gaps in Britain. The lack of women in senior jobs is the main reason.

Pay gap data from 21 major financial institutions showed a narrowing in their average mean gender pay gap. This is just 0.4 percentage points. Banks alone had a pay gap which narrowed by one percentage point. Ann Francke, chief executive of the Chartered Management Institute said that the UK’s financial services industry has often been singled out. It really does have to get its house in order. Goldman Sachs had the widest gender pay gap in the year to April 2020. Goldman posted a gender pay gap of 51.8%. The bank told the staffs that narrowing the gap further was a critical priority. A spokesperson for banking lobby group UK Finance said, that there is clearly more still to be done.

FTSE 100 insurers Prudential, Legal & General and M&G reported a widening in their pay gaps. Prudential’s UK gender pay gap widened to 45.2%. M&G also reported a widening in its pay gap in the most recent year to 30.5%. The M&G spokesperson said that they are determined to narrow their gender pay gap and will do this by achieving better representation of women in all roles at all levels of our organization. Legal & General’s mean gender pay gap widened to 30.8%.

The insurer said that the legal & general is tackling the underlying causes of its pay gap. This is by creating a more diverse workforce and a more inclusive culture through sustained, long-term action. Admiral had a gender pay gap last year of 12.8%. The 21 firms surveyed were Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds, NatWest, Standard Chartered, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Goldman Sachs International, JPMorgan, Morgan Stanley, UBS, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, PGMS (a Phoenix unit), abrdn, Schroder Investment Management, St James’s Place, Legal & General, Prudential, Admiral Group, Aviva and M&G.

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BOJ to lower inflation target-Japan’s finance minister

Japan’s outgoing finance minister, Taro Aso, said that he had proposed lowering the central bank’s 2% inflation target. This is when the prices took a hit from plunging oil prices. He was the finance minister for nearly nine years. The slump in oil price was among the main reasons the government could not officially declare an end to deflation. In his final news conference as finance minister, Aso said that he proposed to Governor Kuroda that, with oil prices falling this much, it would be hard to achieve 2% inflation. Hence, the target must be lowered at some point. He stated this by referring to Bank of Japan (BOJ) chief Haruhiko Kuroda.

Aso also said that the governor said he would do his best to achieve the target. This is stated by adding that policymakers must scrutinise at some point, why the BOJ’s inflation target of 2% has not been met. The remarks highlight how the government and lawmakers distanced themselves from the BOJ’s target years ago, despite central bank reassurances that achieving the target was possible by maintaining or increasing stimulus.

Aso was deeply involved in negotiations with the BOJ. After Kuroda took over as governor, he deployed a massive asset-buying program. This is for pulling Japan out of deflation. Aso supported the BOJ’s stimulus efforts. He is a member of the cabinet. And also, had raised many doubts that monetary policy alone can reflate the economy out of the doldrums. New Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is set to form a cabinet.

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