The Zimbabwe Independent will tomorrow release findings of its 2018 edition of the prestigious Banks and Banking Survey.
By Kuda Chideme
The survey, which was carried out under the theme Financial Inclusion: Banking the Unbanked, analyses key ratios, as well as the balance sheet size and profitability of all the 18 registered commercial banks and building societies operating in the country.
The banks in question will be ranked based on these results and a detailed matrix of this ranking is contained in the report.
Lead researcher in the survey, Bruce Dzowa, said the report would give an insightful picture of the health of the sector.
“With the Zimbabwean economy seemingly being anchored largely on the informal sector, the issue of banking this previously unbanked large sector of the nation is increasingly ever so important. An analysis of the banking and general financial sector methods and modes of including previously marginalised sectors of the society will also be made,” Dzowa said.
“Zimbabwe’s financial sector suffers a dearth of data, as most businesses remain guarded, but we believe by carrying out this survey we are helping to open up the banking sector for access by the smaller businesses.”
During the period under review, two new deposit-taking microfinance institutions, namely the Zimbabwe Women’s Microfinance Bank and Empower Bank Limited, were licensed and began operating, bringing the total number in operation to six from four in 2017.
Ten new credit-only microfinance institutions were registered during the year, raising the total number to 188 from 178 the previous year.
Small and Medium Enterprises Association of Zimbabwe chief executive Farai Mutambanengwe said the country’s banking system remains structured in favour of the large corporates.
He said banks should assist micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) businesses so that they grow and contribute towards production, employment creation and economic development.
“Full financial inclusion means that MSMEs should be able not only to bank their money, but also to access credit when they need it. Unfortunately, the financial services system is structured strongly against such lending,” Mutambanegwe said.
“Despite the setting up of various facilities ostensibly targeted at the SME sector, it is next to impossible for the SMEs to access these facilities, as the requirements are identical to the already-existing facilities which they could not access in the first place.
“Achieving full financial inclusion requires a change in mindset on the part of the authorities. The primary objective behind financial inclusion should be to promote growth of MSMEs so that they become large corporations and contribute meaningfully to the national development agenda.”
As at December 31, 2017, the 18 institutions cumulatively held $10,5 billion worth of assets, with the biggest banks by asset base being CBZ ($1,992 billion), Stanbic ($1,403 billion), CABS ($1,267 billion) and StanChart ($816 million), accounting for 52% of all bank assets.
CBZ, Stanbic and CABS account for 52% of all bank assets.
Mid-tier banks by asset base are FBC ($558m), First Capital ($556m), Ecobank ($547m), BancABC ($530m), Steward ($461m), ZB Bank ($442m), and NMB ($423m).
The smallest bank by asset base was ZB Building Society with a modest $42m.