Fintech rules in Zimbabwe as more banks shut physical branches
Zimbabwean banks are expanding their digital offerings, spurred by a regulatory environment described by financial service providers as supportive to digital transformation in a market grappling with liquidity challenges.
More banks in the country have opted for digital channels and continue to close brick and mortar branches.
FBC Holdings, one of the biggest banking institutions in Zimbabwe, has said that its “digital transformation increased with the escalation of its Fintech subsidiary within and outside” the Bank.
It has also invested in digital channels to improve its underwriting capabilities and efficiencies, reduce cost, deter money laundering, fraud and cyber-attacks.
FBC Holdings board chairman Hebert Nkala said, “We are pleased that the government and regulators are agreeable and supportive to the strategic relevance of digital transformation.”
He added that establishment of a Sandbox guideline, a Fintech working group and National Financial Inclusion strategy for Zimbabwe were key milestones.
In 2021, Zimbabwe promulgated the Data Protection Act according to which the banking industry is expected to provide a “workable framework to address privacy issues whilst enabling the usage of new technologies” in the industry.
Nkala explained, “Stakeholders in the Fintech space are hopeful that a comprehensive Fintech regulatory framework will be implemented for the sector as opposed to the prevailing contractual case-by-case approach. We believe that the right policy intervention will catapult Zimbabwe to a digital economy in no time.”
Another Zimbabwean bank, First Capital Bank introduced a WhatsApp Banking platform, Alisa in 2021. This was in addition to adoption of enhanced internet banking access on its Mobile App “using a reverse billing model” this was earmarked to “improve access and convenience” for depositors, the bank said.
First Capital Bank Zimbabwe has also rolled out more ATMS.
“Going forward, the Bank is expecting to roll out a new Internet Banking and Mobile Application with even better functionality during the first half of 2022,” it stated.