LUSAKA, ZAMBIA – Banks must break the mould and be relevant to customers – that’s the message from recently Stanbic Bank Head of Personal and Business Banking Mwansa Mutati.
The aim is to make banking relevant to individuals from all backgrounds and lifestyles to grow the level of financial inclusion.
“We want to reinvent the concept of banking by introducing customised services that enable Stanbic to become its client’s strongest partner in realising their business and/or personal growth,” said Ms Mutati on the introduction of Stanbic’s ‘Everyday Banking’ service to make banking easier and more convenient for everyone.
The move followed Bank of Zambia (BoZ) governor Denny Kalyalya’s call for financial institutions to provide customer-centric services as a way of creating trust between themselves and their current and potential clients to help stimulate increased financial inclusion in the country.
She said financial exclusion hindered people’s ability to leverage the benefits of formal banking services like risk protection, investments for sustainable growth and financial freedom and savings for a rainy day. “The financial industry is critical to economic growth. In the last three years, it has contributed on average 3% to national GDP.”
Although the industry has contributed to Zambia’s economic growth in recent years, it retains massive growth potential in terms of greater financial inclusion and GDP share said Mr Gabaraane.
Finscope data puts the country’s financial inclusion at around 40% of adults while the National Financial Inclusion Strategy 2017-2022 (NFIS) seeks to raise this to 80% by 2022.
“If we are to realise the target set out in the NFIS, all stakeholders, especially financial institutions must take steps to make banking services more accessible to the unbanked and more convenient to retain customers,” explained Ms Mutati. “Banks have a responsibility to ensure a high number of access points for their services - ATMs, bank branches, point of sale machines, mobile banking - in all parts of the country. But beyond that, we must make banking relevant to the customer, we must meet their needs and make the process as efficient as possible.
“As a bank that’s completely in support of government’s goal to get financial inclusion to 80% in the next four years, we have dedicated time and resources to come up with products and services that are not only attractive to the public but also make banking a pleasantly memorable experience for our clients.”
She added: “We have aligned our strategies which include digitalisation, universal banking and client focus with the objectives of the NFIS and Everyday Banking is just one of them.
The service allows clients to regain control of their lives through a range of services, including salary advances, expert financial advice, personal assistant to help with everyday tasks and paying bills on the go to give clients unmatched convenience without interrupting their life.
One product under this service is the ‘Everyday Achiever Banking’, which provides easy and secure banking to salaried customers with slashed management fees. It also offers retrenchment cover and access to personal loans of up to K330,000.
“Everyday Executive Banking is another boundary-pushing service, offering comprehensive secure and convenient banking services including travel insurance; access to priority service areas eliminating the need to queue up in the bank, affordable loans and access to Blue Sky – a service set to redefine banking in Zambia.”
“We focus on offering real value to all our customers while giving the unbanked population a reason to take up formal financial services aiding the NFIS’s objective of 80% financial inclusion by 2022,” she concluded.