Polaris Bank is positioning itself for digital leadership and market dominance, says CEO Adekunle Sonola. In an interview, Sonola assured customers, stakeholders, and regulators that the bank is on the growth path toward market dominance and has long passed the road to recovery. He attributed the bank’s success to careful, well-thought-out corporate plans that have created a solid foundation of competitiveness and business sustainability. The bank has worked with professional bodies such as PwC, Ernst & Young, and KPMG across several corporate verticals.
Sonola said that adequate capitalization is a key measure of financial health and noted that the bank is presently adequately capitalized, operating well above the 10% minimum requirement for National Banks. However, they are concluding arrangements to inject Tier II capital into the Balance Sheet to support growth aspirations. Sonola assured stakeholders that shareholders are ready and willing to inject Tier I capital into the books. The bank’s best-in-class risk management practices and adequate capitalization to support growth objectives are not immediate challenges and will not be in the foreseeable future.
The bank’s two-prong ideology of controlling funding costs and growing earning assets at economic pricing is driving earning asset growth from both the investment and risk asset sides of the business. The bank’s recently developed strategic plan will guide it to be a major challenger of Tier 1 banks and the leader among Tier II banks along all key performance parameters. The bank also aims to be one of the most efficient deposit money institutions in the industry, delivering superior value to stakeholders.
“We have revamped our go-to-market structure, broadening our customer base, fine-tuning our product and supporting service offerings, strengthening personnel sales capacities, and improving our loan onboarding processes,” Sonola said. “We are very confident our Net interest income and margin will witness considerable growth as our strategies mature.” Cost control is a critical part of the bank’s tactical and strategic roadmap. Its short-term tactics come from its longer-term strategies.
The Executive went on to say that at the tactical level, the bank is strengthening digital deliveries and upgrading the capabilities and offerings on Digital Bank, Vulte, for an even more intensive and intuitive experience across customer journeys. Polaris Bank has also improved its digital play, as reflected in the improvement of technological interfaces that feed into the customer’s journey expectations and experiences. The bank intends to build a dominant digitally led retail franchise and continue to reshape the bank’s business processes and support technology to continuously improve enterprise agility.
“Our competition is not of size, but value creation,” he said. With Polaris Bank’s plans firmly in place, the bank is well-poised to lead the digital financial revolution and continue dominating the market for years to come.
“The VULTE product is just one of our service offerings. Indeed, we are creating a digital service reality that is customer service-focused. The technology driving this will scale digital service delivery to enhance our customers’ product or service experiences as we front-load features that fit into their expectations and future possible journey outcomes. As financial service platforms get better and continue to be an enabler, a part of the fabric of our modern economy, we will be an integral part of the way people carry out their businesses and we will make their digital journeys an integrated friendly experience. One cannot talk too much about this, but the tea leaves are pointing to a fresh pathway to consumer banking satisfaction.”
Other areas of positive growth in the Bank include the creation of a more powerful customer service experience via improved staff productivity with the best of Polaris Bank staffers driving the process having gone through upskilling and retraining programmes. This ensures we are driving a productivity-sensitive framework that marries staff effort with measurable business contributions.
“We have zeroed in on offering superior customer experience as a competitive tool. The new world of competitiveness requires that corporations are agile and flexible, we are building this into the bank’s operational DNA. Our customer journey experiences have been deconstructed across demographics and the service propositions will soon grace banking halls in the next eighteen months at the latest.
“We plan for a stronger balance sheet, with higher loan quality, greater liquidity, larger capital, and resilience to absorb economic shocks. Our loan asset quality has improved significantly, thereby improving liquidity, earnings, and the bank’s capital. We are primed to improve our cost-to-income ratio (CIR), Capital Adequacy Ratio (CAR), and Cost-of-Risk ratio (CoR). In the recent past, we saw bumps in the risk area with CoR higher than we would like, but more recently risk quality has improved leading to lower CoR.” He shared
With a focus on customer-centricity, risk management, cost optimization, and technological advancements, Polaris Bank is seen as positioning itself as a major player in the industry, offering superior customer experiences and driving financial performance.
The Bank has been decorated as Nigeria’s Digital Bank of the Year in two successive years; it aims to position itself as a dominant digitally-led retail franchise, delivering superior value to stakeholders.