Basani Maluleke, CEO of African Bank Ltd., talks customer centricity, culture and collaboration


CEO of African Bank, Basani Maluleke, is passionate about finance and studying the intricacies of customer behaviour. Her top priority, since taking the lead role at African Bank in 2018, has been to revamp the bank and work towards sustainable profitability, whilst maintaining and enhancing the relationship with new and existing customers. Basani believes that the Covid-19 pandemic has altered the financial services sector in South Africa, pushing it to learn and adapt at an increased rate.

In this week’s Business Unusual podcast, Ralf Fletcher, CEO of Topco Media sits down with Basani Maluleke to discuss her journey as the first black woman CEO of a South African bank, zooming in on how she’s instilled imperative values in her work, building a strong cohort of data scientists, and planning ahead for the future of the economy. Basani shares valuable insight into the financial banking industry, emphasising the importance of great work culture, harnessing the power of a customer-centric model, and staying ahead of the curve, especially throughout this global pandemic.


Key takeaways to listen out for in this podcast:

  • Businesses in the financial sector need to engage in forward thinking processes to keep a finger on the pulse right now. We must try and get ahead of things or we will be left behind in the coming years.
  • Three essential things to prioritise are: the culture of a bank, data collection and customer centricity.
  • Building up a cohort of data scientists will go a long way in compiling better collections of valuable data, which helps to understand customers, remain relevant to them, and access information on how agents can be equipped with better tools and resources to fulfill their role more efficiently.
  • We must keep ourselves accountable and regularly measure our own success and shortcomings. This way we can upskill and be better prepared for digital transformation in this sector.
  • Reading and staying up to date with trends and global concerns will aid in better understanding your mission and staying committed to the outcome. Digital Human: The Fourth Revolution of Humanity Includes Everyone by Chris Skinner, is a great recommendation for finding out how banks will need to evolve in the future.
  • Having a clear philosophy for your organisation is essential. Be clear, intentional and purposeful. This goes a long way in building credibility and trust.
  • Tapping into ‘The Customer’ i.s. customer centricity is a superpower! You must be able to appeal to the ordinary person and engage with them on a deeper level. This will foster an even better Savings Culture.
  • Social media campaigning works best when content is relatable and the average person in society is able to engage and familiarise themselves with the core message. This strategy works well for financial institutions.
  • As a business leader, you have to believe in your own potential, above all else, and don’t take people for granted. Remember that ‘our place in this world is to leave it better than we found it’.
  • Now, more than ever, we need to leverage tech as much as possible. A business’s success is largely dependent on the ‘velocity of learning’ – the pace at which leaders and teams are able to adapt and upskill is vital.



Basani Maluleke is Chief Executive Officer at African Bank, having been appointed to the role in 2018 following more than a decade at the bank, as a non-executive. Maluleke has a BCom LLB (University of Cape Town), MBA (Kellogg), and is an admitted attorney. She has over 10 years’ financial services working experience and has also worked for Edward Nathan Friedland, FirstRand’s RMB division as well as in various FNB divisions. More recently, she was an executive director of Transcend Capital, a corporate finance business specialising in B-BBEE ownership.

Basani is also a key investor in the Click Foundation, a non-profit organisation that focuses on closing the gaps in education through technology. The organisation focuses on food supply, providing protective gear, and assisting parents and children with access to e-learning tools.


Written by Topco Staff Writer


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Written by Topco Staff Writer


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