Basani Maluleke: a woman in leadership

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Published on Capitec’s LinkedIn page, 23 September 2022

She made history by becoming the first black woman at the helm of a South African bank, which is why we’re excited to have Basani Malulekejoin our fold. We recently spent some time with her to learn more about her career path and why she chose to join Capitec.

Basani Maluleke started her career in law. “My father was a lawyer who positively impacted the lives of many South Africans, and I aspired to follow in his footsteps. I believed pursuing a career in law would help me do that.” However, after qualifying as an attorney, Basani knew she didn’t want to do this long term.

“Fortunately, I came across a job spec in corporate finance that combined finance expertise and law at Rand Merchant Bank (RMB). As I’d studied law and a B-Com Accounting, this was the perfect fit for me.”

She likens the learning experience at RMB to that of being on a rocket. “It was fast paced, and I had to navigate steep learning curves, but I learned so much, especially about banking.” In 2009, Basani realised she wanted to gain a better understanding of business and went on to do her MBA at the Kellogg School of Management in the United States.

Armed with her MBA, Basani knew she wanted to manage a large business. She returned to South Africa and joined FNB as Head of FNB Private Clients. “A year in, I knew this wasn’t the right fit for me, so I returned to corporate finance for a short period before joining African Bank as a non-executive director.” Two years later she joined the executive team, before moving into the position of CEO.

In January 2021, Basani announced her resignation as CEO of African Bank after a three-year tenure, and in August 2021 revealed that she’d be joining Capitec.

Joining Capitec: a force for good

“I started as divisional executive of business solutions in October 2021 and moved into the role of divisional executive of operations in July 2022,” she says. “My job, in a nutshell, sees me looking after all client-facing channels at branch level and Capitec Direct. A big part of what I do is making sure our front-line staff have the necessary training and support to serve our clients, that they understand all compliance requirements and know how to optimise our clients’ experience with us.

“The decision to join Capitec was easy for so many reasons,” says Basani. “For a start, I believe Capitec runs the best operations engine of any bank – and potentially any retailer – in South Africa.” She adds that she was enticed by the opportunity to learn how Capitec achieves this, while gaining an understanding of the detail behind the process.

“The impact Capitec has on people’s lives, both in terms of staff and clients, also excited me. I see Capitec as more of a tech company than an ordinary bank, so the proposition to join the business was exciting because there’s just so much to learn.”

The management team also played a big role in Basani’s decision. “They are the founders of Capitec and being able to work alongside them is a truly unique experience. I think there’s a point in our careers when we join a company because of the people rather than the job. The people behind Capitec are genuine, smart and speak to my heart. Capitec was the right company for me to join.”

The Capitec culture

“It’s definitely a fast-paced environment,” says Basani. “People want to be able to make decisions quickly. To be successful at Capitec, you need to know where the North Star is and do the actual work to get us there. Our culture needs individuals who can internalise lots of information and figure out what to do with it.”

The Capitec culture of putting the client first is firmly entrenched. “You can’t overestimate that,” explains Basani. “Many banks talk about putting clients first but having worked in the banking industry for about 20 years, I can say that Capitec gets it right. The number of times we hear positive things about client satisfaction is at a level I never imagined possible.”

Looking ahead

Career progression is important at Capitec. “Gerrie [Fourie] feels strongly about this and he’s right. We need to make sure we provide opportunities for people to grow within their respective roles,” Basani says. “We know people want to feel a sense of career progression in order to be fully engaged. All of us want to feel like we’re growing, and I think that achieving this will create huge value for our people down the line.”

She is excited about the future of the business. “Our business bank continues to grow, which means we’re creating even more opportunities for our people to grow in different areas, to learn different things and enrich their own experience of the Capitec world.

“I have so much to learn, but I love learning. I’m still fairly new in the Capitec environment but having the opportunity to understand how it works is an absolute privilege.”

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