ZIMBABWE’S largest mobile phone operator Econet Wireless’ mobile banking service EcoCashSave has said it will soon introduce a cash lending facility to its accountholders as the telecommunications giant seeks to deepen the country’s financial inclusion.
This comes as the firm has announced that its EcoCash accounts had surpassed total accounts held by all banks operating in the country.
In a statement yesterday, Econet said account holders will soon be able to borrow money, just like ordinary bank account holders. The service is underwritten by Steward Bank, a commercial bank wholly-owned by the telecommunications company.
“This is part of what will be called EcoCashCredit that Econet is planning to roll out early in the new year,” the company said in a statement.
Econet Wireless chief executive officer Douglas Mboweni said the firm was also expected to partner other commercial banks under the scheme.
Mboweni said lending was a natural next step, adding that the plan was to lend for uses such as school fees, right up to housing loans. He said the number of bank accounts held by Steward Bank on behalf of EcoCashSave now surpassed those held by all the banks put together.
“We have more than 900 000 account holders, compared to 850 000 for all the banks,” Mboweni said.