31 May 2022Standard Bank has claimed the prestigious title of ‘African Bank of the Year’ at the esteemed 2022 African Banker Awards held in Accra, Ghana.The title is a testament to Standard Bank’s quality of service and dedication to the continent as the category was judged not only on business performance, but on an institution’s overall impact in assisting clients navigate the troughs of COVID-19, offering industry-leading technological solutions, supporting traditionally marginalized sectors, fostering opportunities for women empowerment, and bringing value to stakeholders.Sim Tshabalala, Chief Executive of the Standard Bank Group, said: “This honour is for all Standard Bank Group employees who worked to make our business responsive in supporting our clients and our communities through the COVID-19 pandemic and to foster growth and development. Particularly for Africa’s entrepreneurs and corporations.”Standard Bank’s immediate priority in 2021 was ensuring that those most vulnerable could recover from the economic ramifications of the COVID-19 pandemic..In addition to providing support to our clients through fee waivers, loan repayment moratoriums, and flexible funding mechanisms, Standard Bank rolled out several health-related Corporate Social Investment (CSI) initiatives which saw millions of dollars being donated toward public access to COVID-19 vaccinations, the provision of medical equipment, upgrading of hospital wards, food relief, and humanitarian support.The pandemic also took a tremendous toll on budding SMEs.In South Africa, Standard Bank’s Enterprise Development team provided almost US$ 9 million in loans to 700 SMEs, which helped create or save at least 1357 jobs. To the east, Stanbic Bank Kenya embarked on strategic partnerships to accelerate business recovery and growth for SMEs; while Standard Bank Mozambique launched a grant funding competition which saw 20 SMEs being enrolled into a mentorship bootcamp to ensure their future success.“Enhancing business recovery implies the promotion of gender equity. Therefore, as a signatory to the UN Women Empowerment Principles, Standard Bank has committed to several programmes to advance gender equity both inside and outside its business,” said Tshabalala..“All our initiatives are viewed through a sustainability l lens as we commit to forge a sustainable growth path in Africa. Standard Bank has therefore financed renewable energy and infrastructure projects across the continent to drive economic growth and human development.”A major factor in winning the ‘African Bank of the Year’ title was Standard Bank’s drive to introduce innovative products and solutions to our clients, thereby disrupting the banking industry through world-class practices.In 2021, Standard Bank Group partnered with Microsoft to accelerate the Group’s digital transformation goals, to drive efficiencies, and enable the innovation, agility, and resilience required to further improve our service.In tandem, Standard Bank launched ground-breaking digital platforms like Unayo and PowerPulse and leveraged strategic partnerships with innovators like Flutterwave and Nomanini, to significantly increase the range of services available to our clients and make a meaningful impact on their lives..All the above initiatives, and more, have resulted in a positive impact on the books.Standard Bank Group saw headline earnings for the twelve months to 31 December 2021 rebound 57% to USD1.69 billion, with return on equity improving to 13.5%, our net asset value increasing by 13%, and revenue growing by double digits.“Being voted African Bank of the Year is an endorsement of our strategy to become a more client-centric, digitally-enabled platform business. We want to transform our clients’ experience, provide our services with consistent excellence; and drive sustainable growth and value throughout the continent,” said Tshabalala.ENDS.