Steward Bank targets 250 000 new accounts

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STEWARD Bank is opening at least 200 new accounts per day and is targeting 250 000 new accounts, as it rolls out more agency banking outlets aimed at reducing costs.

TATIRA ZWINOIRA

This comes as the bank has partnered with Zimpost, in the roll out of 40 agency banking outlets, which will offer universal banking services, allowing those with different banks accounts to transact using through Steward Bank.

Steward-Bank-MasterCard-A

Speaking at the launch of the partnership between Zimpost and Steward Bank yesterday in Harare, Steward Bank chief executive officer, Lance Mambondiani, said the bank has 250 outlets nationwide, as it aims to be the largest distribution channel of banking services.

“What it means is that we are literally in 250 outlets countrywide. It also means that by implication,
we almost have the largest distribution channels, so we know we are on a significant graph to open
accounts in the country. We are targeting opening close to a quarter of a million accounts countrywide.

Right now we are opening an average of 200 to 300 accounts daily,” he said.

“The universal concept that we have rolled out, which is new, allows us to increase our non-interest
revenue because we are a bank that is focused a lot more on transactional banking. We have also recently partnered with Econet, so we are in the process of converting every Econet store in the country to offer Steward Bank services.”

According to the 2014 Finscope Survey, 23% of the population remains outside the banking channels.

Since then, banks within the banking sector have come up with innovations such as agency banking targeting the
un-banked population, as well as others operating in the informal market.

In recent months, it has also been seen as a cost cutting measure than having to open branches across the country.

Zimpost managing director, Douglas Zimbango, said his company decided to partner with Steward Bank, as the postal business was on a decline.

“The postal business is on a decline and we are now more into agency business, so when Steward Bank brought in this idea of agency banking, we obviously jumped at the opportunity. What we are trying to do is, while we are offering universal service to our people, especially in outlying areas, we need to cover the costs,” he said.

“So, as we give that service, we will be able to make money to support universal service offerings.
The two organisations [Steward Bank and Zimpost] will be able to make some profit.”

Zimbango said the distribution of profits between the two companies will be measured on a sliding
scale depending on the service being offered.

“For things that are regulate by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, we share 50:50, while the other ones
are out of negotiation,” he said.

Financial inclusion is part of the central bank’s thrust to target those who are not part of the banking system, particularly those in remote parts of the country.

Norman Mataruka, RBZ director for supervision, said agency banking is one of the channels being used for financial inclusion.

“Agency banking is one of the channels that we are using for financial inclusion. We have challenged the banks to come up with distribution channels that are cost efficient and are flexible to the greater part of the population.

Cash-in-transit has proven difficult to remote areas,” he said.

“What we are looking at is the broader impact of the economic streams, banking is the one that drives economic performance and our banking is dependent on mobilisation of resources. What we are saying is that, there is an abundant of resources of people not banking their money.”

Other banks to use agency banking include CBZ Bank and ZB Bank. Mambondiani said they are hoping to have 3 000 agency banking outlets by February next year.

2 COMMENTS

  1. I’m baffled here, shouldn’t Zimpost be pushing business for POSB (sister company)? In bed with the competition?

    Steward bank officials, like EW officials in other divisions like to give these fancy figures in the name of progress. Joblessness is increasing, what’s there to celebrate opening of accounts? I’m always amazed at the noise made by new banks when those established banks (with over 400 years of banking experience) are quiet. Zimpost be careful, next to come could be EcoPost!!

  2. your services are very poor,,,,,,,,,,you need almost 12 months inorder toactivate ecocash banking why cant you activate it instantly

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