Keeping consumer concerns close

New role brings all-round growth
Nedbank CFO JC van Graan believes the smaller size of the bank allows for superior customer care.
Iréne-Mari van der Walt
The chief financial officer (CFO) of Nedbank Namibia, JG van Graan, says the mandate of a CFO has evolved immensely over the past decade, especially in the finance industry.

“I do believe the role of the CFO has evolved immensely over the past decade due to the Fourth Industrial Revolution and digital fast-tracking experienced, especially in the financial services sector. The modern-day CFO should play a more impactful role in the strategic direction of the entity and in deciding the operating model of the entity going forward, taking into account the level of automation we are seeing in the banking space,” he said.

With prior experience at a major audit firm, Van Graan acquainted himself with the finance industry after three years at Rössing Uranium’s finance department.

When Nedbank Namibia offered him the opportunity to work as their CFO, he admitted he was quick to jump at the chance. He has no regrets.

“I jumped at the opportunity to move back into commerce and I was lucky enough to be the suitable candidate. I have been in this role now for almost four years and I am enjoying every moment of it,” he said.

Van Graan noted that his role as Nedbank CFO has broadened his horizons in more ways than he expected.

“My role at Nedbank is much wider than financial reporting and analysis. The role over the four years has really evolved to provide exposure into many operational, frontline and even marketing areas, which has been exceptional for my own career development.”

Small is big

Being a ‘David among Goliath’ within the banking sector has presented Nedbank with a unique opportunity to consistently adapt to the needs of clients.

“Being the smallest of the four largest commercial banks is a real advantage that enables us to be more agile and adaptive to the current magnitude of change we are seeing in the financial services sector. This gives us a great platform to adapt, improve our customer value proposition and increase our market share.”

Van Graan believes that his previous experience gave him a chance to hone the skills and acquire the knowledge he needed to take banking into the new age at Nedbank.

“Having consulted clients in process automation, robotics and strategy formulation in my previous role, this has really equipped me to play a more definitive role in the strategic and operational direction of Nedbank Namibia,” he said.

Growth and reward

He is pleased to have seen growth, not just in his own capacity, but for the bank and their associated brand as an entity.

“I think Nedbank Namibia has really made gains from a brand and banker of choice in the Namibian market over the past few years and my aspiration is to continue to grow our brand and market share in Namibia.”

Van Graan said the best way to grow a business is by growing the individuals who keep the fire burning on a daily basis.

“My real passion is to develop people to their highest potential – the key is to develop the team internally to provide the platform for them to move into the CFO role over the short to medium term,” he said.

He believes that the strong ties between the Nedbank executive committee members contributes to a vibrant working environment.

“We are a small, diverse and close-knit executive team, which makes the work environment so much more enjoyable and rewarding.”

One of the most rewarding aspects of his work is seeing the hard work of their team come to life as public perception of the institution shifts to encompass a clearer understanding of the bank’s values and goals.

“The perception is also changing that Nedbank is only a bank for the affluent. And with our diverse leadership team, under the stewardship of Martha Murorua, we have a great platform to sustainably grow Nedbank into one of the leading players in the local banking sector.”