By Jeffrey Muvundusi
Steward Bank (Steward) — a subsidiary of Econet Wireless Zimbabwe — has partnered with fuel retailer, Total Zimbabwe (Total), in a move aimed at making agent banking services easily accessible to everybody in the country.
Unveiling the joint venture, Steward Bank chief executive officer, Lance Mambondiani, said banking institutions had to craft mechanisms suited for the convenience of the banking public.
“Our vision is that banking should be accessible to everybody just like telecoms. Whether it’s to save money, withdraw cash or just to pay for something in Nkulumane, Pelandaba or anything, every Zimbabwean should have the capacity to do that without the encumbrance of bank charges or service fees,” he said.
Under the partnership, Steward customers can visit any Total service station and make cash deposits and withdrawals.
Mambondiani said the bank will, in the next two months, install point of sale card readers at all 150 Total services stations in a move aimed at enabling motorists to pay for fuel using plastic money.
“We have converted very deliberately all Total service stations across the country into banking halls. In doing that, we try to de-stigmatise what and how people view banks,” he said.
He added that Steward was driven by the desire to be one of the largest domestic financial services institutions offering diverse banking solutions and packages to the people.
“That’s part of the revolution to provide banking services to all Zimbabweans. Our goal is simply to address some of the challenges that you encounter when you are moving from place to place looking for cash. Our aim is to make sure that we are giving you a solution if you need anything financial,” he said.
In a move that has created employment in the country, Mambondiani said under the new partnership, the bank had registered and authorised 300 agents across the country.
The Steward boss said the initiative would be further consolidated to cover small to medium enterprises as well as various businesses in the country.
Mambondiani noted that the services would also cater for non-Steward customers while agents would be paid a favourable commission of up to 80 percent to incentivise their operations as well as the spread of the service.
Total managing director Christopher Okonmah who was also present at the event hailed the partnership, which he described as in line with the global digital revolution in businesses.
“The world is going digital. Now you can walk anywhere and do your banking. Total is well distributed in Zimbabwe and you can walk into any of our service stations to access banking services. That makes us happy with the partnership. It’s not best to carry cash. It’s good we shift to start transacting electronically,” he said.
Bulawayo Mayor Martin Moyo also hailed the move saying it would go a long way in improving banking services in the country. Daily News