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Call for Zimbabwe banks to embrace digital technologies

by Staff reporter
27 Mar 2019 at 22:54hrs | Views
The banking sector has been called upon to embrace digital technologies which will enhance strategic partnerships and ensure efficient services to clients. The call was made at the 25th WSBI Africa Regional Group Meeting being attended by banking institutions and regulators from 11 countries in Victoria Falls.

WSBI Africa Regional Group was established to bring together the members in the region to keep close exchange on specific issues and to promote the exchange of best practices and create business cooperation opportunities.

It represents 36 financial institutions from 22 countries. Local bank, Agribank and People's Own Savings Bank (POSB) are the hosts.

Speaking at the occasion, Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe director for bank supervision Mr Norman Mataruka challenged players in the banking sector to embrace technology if they are to progress especially in light of the digital era which has replaced traditional banking.

"For the banking sector to move ahead, it has to embrace technology. Banks should start looking at digital KYC (Know Your Customer) to be able to identify and access clients as this is key to financial inclusion," he said.

Mr Mataruka said banks should be wary of cyber criminals who are using different methods to defraud financial institutions hence the need for use of biometric systems. POSB chief executive Mr Admore Kandlela said banking institutions' priority was on consumer protection.

"Consumer protection should be taken into account. As POSB we are dealing with the poor pensioners and our request to the regulator is that when you introduce new facilities there should be more involvement," he said.

Mr Kandlela highlighted that banks were competing for a small pool of clientele with Mobile Network Operators (MNOs). Participants urged MNOs to embrace interoperability in terms monetary transactions for the purposes of financial inclusion.

Zimbabwe has three MNOs namely Econet whose facility is Ecocash, NetOne (Netcash) and Telecel which offers Telecash.

Consumers hardly send or receive money across the three networks. Mr Mataruka said as a regulator, RBZ was encouraging strategic partnerships where the MNOs should adopt interoperability for customers to be able to transact across networks. He, however, said measures need to be put in place to ensure protection of clients.

In response to the issue, Postal and Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (Potraz) deputy director general Mr Alfred Marisa said MNO are already offering cross floor transactions.

"Inter network transfers are now possible. We are however still battling with other aspects such as charges which are prohibitive and this is an issue that needs to be looked at," he said.

The general feeling from participants was that interoperability should start with sharing infrastructure such as ATMs and security services. The conference ends tomorrow.

Source - chronicle