MAPUTO - Following its keen interest in investing in Mozambique Banco Unico. Nedbank group acquired over 50% interest of the Maputo based bank in October last year, making it the majority stakeholder.

Nedbank has branches in seven countries across the African continent and Banco Unico being the latest and youngest of its many collaborations.

Banco Unico is an innovative bank which started operating in August 2010. It was the 18th bank to enter the market but has rapidly grown to be the fifth largest bank in Mozambique, boasting with 20 branches across the country. On its fourth year of operation, Nedbank showed admiration in Banco Unico's remarkable growth levels and strong presence in the market that they decided to approach them with intentions to help grow the brand.

On a sponsored trip to the branches in Maputo, Business Report had the opportunity to engage with the CEO of Banco Unico, Antònio Correia who shared insight on the organisation, the economic state in Mozambique, and their working relationship with Nedbank.

Correia says their bank is a relationship orientated bank. Their focus is maintaining relationships with clients.

"The two main focuses that we have are relationships and offering digital banking. We feel that younger people now prefer digital banking," he said

"We treat our clients differently. All our clients have access to account managers, branch managers and even the CEO to their service, and we offer digital solutions to them. What makes us stand out from other banks is our unique concept. Most banks have neglected service quality, our focus is to prioritize service. We are trying to service our clients 24 hours."

"We are the sixth largest bank, already with 20 branches in eight cities in the country and have won numerous international awards."

Banco Onico has won 30 international awards in total. In 2013, they won African banker of the year, bagged Best internet bank in Mozambique 13 times, and their most recent being the Visa Managing Risk Award for 2017.

He says although Nedbank has majority shareholders, they haven't tried to implement change in how they have operated over the years but have allowed them to continue with their successful business regimes.

"Nedbank is just trying to add value, they understand that the market here is different to South Africa and we know it. There are however certain perimeters which Nedbank is in control of."

Nedbank will expose Banco Unico to a larger market and clientele across the continent.

He went on to say that the economy in Mozambique is still fragile despite the evolution in exports. Going forward, they want to prioritize SME's and skill development programs, after noticing that most Mozambicans lack valuable skills. On the list of their future plans is building an academy for skills development.