Dana is a businesswoman who believes a bank shouldn’t be just a place where you take money in and out.
She wants a relationship. She wants a purpose. She wants to feel human.
“In today’s world where everything is e-something, a human touch gets precious each day,” she says.
With such an approach to life, it is easy to understand why Dana signed up for the Absa Business Club, which has seen her meet and network with other businesspeople and to go on business trips organized by the bank.
She is part of a group, part of a team. She has people she can ask questions. She has contacts locally and abroad, thanks to Absa. The bank serves her well beyond the fortified walls of banking halls.
Absa’s idea of a business club is having a platform that not only brings a sense of belonging but also expands horizons for entrepreneurs who run small and medium enterprises (SMEs).
Dana gets lots of benefits from having a business club account. They include discounted interest rates, a free foreign currency account, free monthly statements, flexible ATM limits, LPO financing of up to Sh12 million, and business club suites that give her banking exclusivity.
In 2007, when it used to trade as Barclays, Absa created the business club. It has not looked back.
“Today, customers want to have more than a transaction relationship with the bank. That’s why they opt for the club account so that now they can really benefit from the financial and non-financial programmes that we have for them,” says Hellen Makandi, the Business Club Manager at Absa Bank Kenya.
One of those programmes are the eye-opening business trips to various destinations outside Kenya.
“We’ve been doing these trips annually since 2007 when the business club was formed. We have continuously organized international trips to give our members exposure and benchmarking opportunities within foreign markets,” explains Ms. Makandi.
Regarding the business suites mentioned above, club members in Nairobi get to enjoy exclusive services at branches in Queensway, Eastleigh, and Karen Branches.
“These branches have designated business club suites where our customers have that exclusivity. This also goes with extended operating hours,” says Ms Makandi.
Other areas where club suites exist are Kisumu, Eldoret, Nakuru and Mombasa.
“We also have priority express counters in branches that do not have the suites,” Ms Makandi explains. “We do this to give them that exclusivity because they are our premium SME customers.”
Business trips being a key pillar of the club, we reached out to Ms Susan Situma, the Head of SME Banking at Absa, who said the bank is big on exposure.
“One of the things we’ve been very keen to do, and given that we’re an African organisation, is to see how we expose our clients especially in the markets where we are represented in Africa,” said Ms Situma.
“Earlier this year, we organised a trip to Accra, Ghana where we took some our women entrepreneurs to attend the 2023 Inspire ME Conference ,” she added.
In September, members of the Absa Business Club headed to Cape Town, South Africa.
“Cape Town is another market where we are represented by the Absa Group and we found that it’s a good market for exposure, whether it’s livestock keeping, whether it’s things to do with sustainable renewable energy,” said Ms Situma.
“We’ll be doing a lot more business-to-business conversations across countries where we are represented. Expect to see more of that even as we expose benchmarking standards, whether it’s going to international trade fairs that are a source of markets and get to network and see how things are done differently from a global standpoint, especially post-Covid,” she added.
Interested in joining? Please call 0722130120 or send an email to [email protected] for more information on what you need to join.
Financial benefits of the Absa Business Club
1. Financing options: Club members access business overdrafts, unsecured loans and receive preferential interest rates on loans.
2. Free foreign currency account: Members are entitled to a free foreign currency account.
3. Free monthly statements: Club members don’t have to pay for monthly account statements.
4. Dedicated relationship managers: Each club member is assigned a relationship manager to provide personalised support.
5. Customisable debit card limits: Members can request higher debit card withdrawal limits.
6. Extended banking hours: Club members benefit from extended operating hours at selected branches.
7. Access to forex solutions: With the help of a dedicated relationship manager, members can access favourable forex rates.
8. Insurance solutions: Business Club members get cover for home contents for free. Members also get free insurance for their phones for up to Sh80,000.
Non-financial benefits of Absa Business Club
1. Access to markets: The Club offers benchmarking trips to various countries to help SMEs expand their market access, connect with suppliers, and grow their businesses.
2. Networking opportunities: Quarterly workshops and forums bring SMEs together, providing a platform for peer interactions, networking, and business development.
3. Access to business knowledge: Absa curates programmes and thought leadership webinars to fill knowledge gaps in areas such as financial management, human resource management, and taxation, helping SMEs make informed decisions.
4. Thought leadership training: Monthly thought leadership sessions are designed to enhance the knowledge of SMEs. Subject matter experts share insights on various topics, including the effects of finance bills, employee wellness, and sustainable business practices.
5. Strategic partnerships: The club collaborates with organisations such as KNCCI, KEPSA ,KAM and other partners, offering members numerous opportunities for growth and development, and also to advocate for them. They also get access to discounted membership rates.
6. Consultancy and advisory services: Members have access to a pool of consultants and business advisors who provide guidance and support on various aspects of business management, including human resource management and taxation.
7. Exclusive invitations: Members receive exclusive invitations to Absa’s social events, such as movie nights and wine tastings.