CBZ Bank, a retail bank operating in Zimbabwe, recently partnered with the local affiliate of Econet Wireless, a telecommunications operator headquartered in Johannesburg, South Africa, to allow CBZ customers to access their bank accounts through mobile phone transactions. CBZ Bank Executive Director Collins Chimutsa reportedly noted that, “This CBZ-Econet partnership allows existing bank account holders to easily make payments from their accounts through Ecocash. At present, a number of Zimbabweans are operating without a bank account and by having this partnership on the Econet subscription of about seven million effectively means that we are now opening the banking services to all Zimbabweans.”
Econet reportedly plans to implement similar partnerships with other yet to be disclosed banks in the near future. The Ecocash money transfer service was launched in September 2011 and about USD 300 million has been transferred through this means. With this new deal, Ecocash has transited from being a money transfer service to a provider of mobile banking.
A FinScope survey commissioned by the Zimbabwean government and performed by the South Africa-based FinMark Trust, indicate 40 percent of adults in Zimbabwe are financially excluded and 24 percent use traditional banking services.
By Chioma Okwudiafor, Research Associate
About Econet Wireless
Based in South Africa, Econet Wireless is a telecommunications group with operations and investments in Africa, Europe, South America and East Asia, offering mobile and fixed telephony internet and satellite services,. The group’s subsidiaries include Econet Wireless International, Econet Wireless Africa, Econet Wireless Global and Liquid Telecom. Econet wireless serves approximately 6.4 million subscribers.
About CBZ Bank
CBZ Bank Limited was founded in 1980 as the Bank of Credit and Commerce Zimbabwe Limited (BCCZL). In 1991, BCCZL ran into financial difficulty and was acquired by the government of Zimbabwe and renamed Commercial Bank of Zimbabwe Limited. In 2004, bank was re-organized and renamed CBZ Bank Limited. CBZ Bank Limited then became a subsidiary of CBZ Holdings Limited, whose shares are traded on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange. CBZ Bank offers loans, savings, mortgages, investment, debit and credit card services. With 1,200 employees, CBZ total assets stand at USD 1.08 billion as at June 2012.
Sources and Additional Resources:
Newsday Zimbabwe Story: Econet-CBZ deal to boost financial inclusion
MicroCapital Story: February 22, 2012, MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Lacking Credit Bureau, Zimbabwean Microfinance Struggles With Consumer Protection
MicroCapital Story: December 28, 2011, MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: CBZ Bank of Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe Microfinance Wholesale Trust Issuing Loans of Up to $50k to Microfinance Institutions in Zimbabwe
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