Simone Cooper is head of business banking for Standard Bank’s personal and business banking division in South Africa.
She has obtained diverse exposure to retail banking, particularly business and commercial banking, having undertaken various roles within Standard Bank.
Cooper has headed up business lending products in South Africa and was a key member of the team involved in re-establishing business banking in South Africa. She also obtained exposure to
running the bank’s supply chain finance business as well as franchising and enterprise development.
More recently Cooper headed up transactional and liability at the products for personal and business banking Rest of Africa division and was a regional head of credit, looking after personal and business banking credit for Angola, Botswana, Ghana, Lesotho, Namibia and Swaziland for Standard Bank.
She has also gained exposure to various initiatives promoting the development of SMEs, including various government initiatives and development finance projects.
In this episode of Business Talk – Owning it with Sage, Cooper talks host Michael Avery through the challenges small businesses in South Africa are currently facing, given the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, and how they are overcoming and addressing these obstacles.
She said that there has been a clear shift from businesses towards digital, which comes with its own set of hurdles – from establishing an online presence and getting products and services to end-consumers, to marketing and promoting the business.
However, digital isn’t a silver bullet for businesses, she notes, saying that many brick-and-mortar operations have been very successful during the pandemic, and some companies that went digital still haven’t returned to pre-pandemic levels.
“There are opportunities, but it is a mixed bag – it certainly depends on the market that you are serving,” she said.
Cooper says that a key strategy adopted by Standard Bank during the pandemic was to get as many businesses through the tough period as it could – particularly with loan extensions, and assisting interested companies in getting online through its services.
The full interview is embedded below. You can find all the Business Talk with Michael Avery interviews here.