Zimbabwe: BancABC to Venture Into Microfinance

Mar 2011
Harare, Zimbabwe, March, 16 2011 - Pan-African banking group BancABC has announced plans to venture into micro-finance within the next six months as part of its expansion programme.

The bank said it would seek to tap into the civil service market.

Speaking at an analysts’ briefing in Harare on Wednesday, after releasing its financial results for the year ended December 31 2010, BancABC country managing director Hashmon Matemera said the bank would launch Microfin Africa within the next three to five months.

“We are trying to be innovative and we are targeting the civil servants and the public in general. There is a need to buy assets from those in the low-income bracket,” said Matemera.

The Botswana-listed company also announced plans to open new branches in the country as it expands its foothold in the local banking sector.

“We are to open six more branches in Gweru, Chiredzi, Kwekwe, Ngezi, Hwange and Harare,” said Matemera.

BancABC has 17 operations, three in Botswana, five in Mozambique, two in Tanzania, three in Zambia and four in Zimbabwe.

“We are hoping that by year-end we will have opened 15 new branches in the countries we currently operate in,” said Matemera

He said the average cost of setting up a branch was $500 000.

BancABC group chief executive officer Douglas Munatsi said the bank would continue to expand its footprint on the continent.

He said the bank was putting in place points of sale in supermarkets and hotels to make the bank’s services more accessible to the transacting public.

“BancABC has a customer-centric approach to service delivery and we will proudly carry this approach to our customers as well,” said Munatsi.

He said the bank would within the next two to three years strategically position the group to achieve its ambitions.

“The outlook is bright and to raise the group’s operations to the next level, the board and management are actively seeking to raise additional capital,” said Munatsi.

BancABC, with operations across the region, achieved a 39% increase in revenue to 546 million pula (BWP). Operating profit was up 327% to 111 million pula.

However, operating expenses increased by 19% to BWP435 million following dollarisation in Zimbabwe as well as an increase in retail expenses as the group continues to expand this segment.

The bank said its Zimbabwe retail business, which has been open for just over 12 months, was profitable, adding this compared favourably with internal targets which had envisaged a branch becoming profitable 18 to 24 months after establishment.

Source : NewsDay

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