Phillepus Uusiku - The Bankers Association Namibia (BAN) has announced that Letshego Bank Namibia chief executive officer, Ester Kali, has assumed the chair of the industry body.
Kali steps in taking over from FirstRand Namibia chief executive officer, Sarel van Zyl, and assures continuous efforts to lead the banking industry.
The new chair thanked Van Zyl and his team for steering the ship with all of its respective banks and having made sound decisions towards the best interest of every banking Namibian.
“This is a team effort and it is therefore all of our responsibility to take ownership and put in as much effort as we can. We have a mammoth task ahead of us, especially in such trying times; however, through a pandemic or not we will always do the best that we can,” she said.
“Through the Covid-19 lockdown it was heartening to see all BAN members pulling together to assist their customers in this time of need,” she added.
On 12 June, Kali took up her role and engaged with the newly appointed governor of the Bank of Namibia (BoN), Johannes !Gawaxab,which is the regulator and supervisor of the sector, at the invitation of the central bank.
!Gawaxab welcomed the new chair and re-iterated the importance of open communication and stakeholder relations to set the tone for various synergised initiatives.
“The Bank of Namibia and Bankers Association Namibia relationship is one forged by a sense of responsibility for the maintenance of a robust, effective and well-functioning financial system,” !Gawaxab said.
“Namibia’s financial system is world-class and therefore admired globally, it is indeed the engine that oils the economy. During times such as these, the financial sector needs to continue to play its part to help cushion our households and businesses feeling the wrath of the impact of Covid-19, on their livelihoods and bottom-lines.
“Additionally, the sector needs to be ready to provide the impetus for growth and development we need, as a nation, in the aftermath of the pandemic.
“I look forward to working with BAN and its new leadership as we navigate the ship through these turbulent tides and ensure we emerge from this crisis stronger, responsive to the needs of the population and most importantly a vibrant, competitive sector,” the central bank governor said.
Kali will be at the helm of BAN and serve for a year in the position. This position rotates annually among the heads of all commercial banks. As part of this annual rotation, Richard Meeks, from Nedbank now takes on the position of vice-chair.
The Bankers Association of Namibia (BAN) was founded in 1997 in accordance with the Banking Institutions Act as the representative trade association for the commercial banking sector in the country.
BAN members are Bank Windhoek, Bank BIC, First National Bank, Nedbank, Letshego Bank, Trustco Bank, and Standard Bank. It deals with non-competitive issues which are of common interest and of significance to the banking industry in Namibia.