Latest News Editor's Choice

News / National

Banks urged to offer affordable financial services

by Staff reporter
08 May 2018 at 07:50hrs | Views
BANKS have been urged to capitalise on technological developments, share information and offer affordable financial services to consumers to promote financial inclusion.

The call was made by Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) deputy director, financial markets – national payment systems Josephat Mutepfa at the Zimswitch Payments Conference in Victoria Falls last Friday running under the theme Sustaining Digital Payments in Zimbabwe and Creating a Gateway into Sadc.

"The central bank in this regard urges the financial community to capitalise on technological developments and an enabling environment to collaborate and offer affordable financial services to a wide array of consumers. The issue of lower costs cannot be over emphasised as consumers are very sensitive to any high fees or charges of financial services. A balance, therefore, needs to be struck on the long-term return on investment vis-a-vis affordable transactional costs," he said.
"In the same vein, there is need for standardisation, interoperability and continuous innovation by the market to fully benefit from the digital age."

Mutepfa said electronic transactions, which rose by 563%, were a key driver of financial inclusion.

"Digital payment systems are also a key driver of financial inclusion and stability in many countries, including Zimbabwe. To this end, strides so far to promote an inclusive financial system are commendable. However, our cherished goal to achieve 90% financial inclusion by year 2020 requires all of us to continue to double our efforts.

"It is particularly fascinating to note that the country has witnessed tremendous growth in electronic transactions which have leap frogged from $62 billion in 2016 to $94 billion in 2017, representing a 52% increase. In volume terms, an increase of 169% has been achieved from 370 million in 2016 to 989 million in 2017," he said.
Mutepfa said the point of sale (POS) population was up by 563%.

"The growth in POS population is unprecedented from a mere 12 600 in 2014 to 70 960 as at end of March this year an increase of 563%."

Mutepfa said despite the positive growth in digital payments, key risks which include cyber, operational and technological certainly required adequate mitigatory measures.

"In this regard, during 2017, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe issued the Retail Payment Systems and Instruments Guideline, which sets out the minimum standards for the establishment and management of electronic payments infrastructure. Key features included in the guideline are governance, risk management, capacity issues and stability of payment systems infrastructure therefore, there is need for taking cognisance of the risks in the adoption of new technologies and strike a balance by putting in place effective measures which are commensurate with the product."

Bankers revealed that they were not sharing information.

"Our system must communicate, we must exchange data and use that data. However, we have not been able to do so because we compete on wrong things," an NMB official said.

"We have our in systems internally as individuals banks to ensure that what I am doing at bank A is not replicated at bank B, but in doing so we sort of put injures against each other in terms of development and information exchange which hinders interoperability."

Zimswitch panelist Reuben Dzembwe said by communicating and sharing information there was increased efficiency, security against fraud and higher quality service.

Source - newsday
More on: #RBZ, #Banks, #Services