Impact of Digitalization in Zimbabwe’s Banking Sector
Digitalisation is by far the present focal area in banking and is bound to dominate discourses and strategy into the foreseeable future. It indeed has become a powerful revolutionary force as bank incomes particularly in the domestic market now show tendencies of tilting towards the non-funded income lines, impacted by innovative products.
Spurring digitisation on the local front has been the need to answer problems of cash scarcity faced by banks and the economy at large.
The depletion of cash against a surge in deposits or broad money supply has resulted in intensified pressure on banks to come up with innovative ways of transacting by substitution of cash.
In a striking statement earlier in 2018, FBC chief executive John Mushayavanhu said: “…as an institution if you’re not going to adopt the digital way of business, you could easily be out of business.”
In statements accompanying the full year financial results to 31 December 2018, various banking institutions highlighted digital expansion as a key focus area going forward which could drive competition in the banking sector to new levels.
“In order to achieve the full benefit from technology in engendering greater efficiencies and respond to the evolving customer demands, the Group will continue to digitalize its operations. Significant investment in this area is therefore expected over the next five years,” ZB financial holdings chief executive Ron Mutandagayi said.
Agribank reported a 35 percent increase in non-interest from US$12 million in 2017 to close 2018 at US$16 million.
Chief executive Sam Malaba said this growth was mainly a result of increased transactions from the ICT delivery channels and electronic banking (E-channels).
He highlighted that the strategy going forward is on enhancing non-funded e-channels related income.
Stanbic Bank chief executive Joshua Tapambgwa the bank’s online and mobile banking platforms are under continuous improvement to give the customer more control of their finances.
“We continue to drive a customer-centric culture in our innovations leading to the development of user friendly and convenient technologies,” Tapambgwa said.
Meanwhile, FBC Holdings’ Chairperson, Herbert Nkala said on the group’s outlook, “Digital transformation, investment in ICT capabilities and strengthening our compliance and risk management frameworks will remain the key enablers or our business going forward.”
Metbank also expressed commitment to improve service delivery through “the upgrade of e-banking and financial inclusion products,” while NMB is intensifying investments digital channels to enhance service delivery as well as accommodate the increased transactional volumes created by the broadened customer base.
The value that digital expansion creates is enormous and to make it more successful the banking institutions also need to invest in educating their employees and clients so that its revolution can well be maximized in order to keep pace with market disruptions and customer needs.