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Stanbic’s Leina Gabaraane seeks people-centered banks

Stanbic’s Leina Gabaraane seeks people-centered banks

April 16
19:06 2018

…customer-centric products improve financial inclusion

By Mulenga Mathews in Ndola

Stanbic Bank Zambia Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Leina Gabaraane

Stanbic Bank Zambia Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Leina Gabaraane holds a commercial belief that concerted efforts by a diversity of stakeholders, built on financial inclusion principles will act as a key driver of economic growth in Zambia.

However, Mr. Gabaraane says achieve inclusive development, financial institutions and corporate entities must improve accessibility to products and services among rural communities beyond the proverbial line of rail markets.

Gabaraane recalled that in 2016, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) estimated that 60% of the Zambia’s proper banking outlets were in Lusaka and the Copperbelt Provinces while 18% districts remain without formal financial service.

“The major hindrance to growth of the financial sector is the lack of confidence in financial institutions caused by knowledge gaps. The private sector players and Central Government must take appropriate policies and strategies to promote equity in distribution of investments, education in line with the Seventh National Development Plan (7NDP), which does not want to leave anyone behind with regard to universal financial inclusion. Stakeholders must focus on increasing the number of Automated Teller Machines (ATM’s), Point of Sale (POS) systems and bank branches countrywide,” advised Gabaraane.

Gabaraane says creation of customer focused products will improve the attractiveness of financial products and services to potential clients thus make them more willing to leverage opportunities and benefits that come with formal banking.

“Financial inclusion plays enables citizens in the low-income bracket, to borrow, save, invest, and manage socio-economic risks through insurance and creation of a better future,” noted Gabaraane as he commended the Zambian Government led by President Edgar Chagwa Lungu and Vice-President Inonge Mutukwa-Wina for consistently appreciating entrepreneurship.

In November 2017, Zambia launched a 2017-2022 National Financial Inclusion Strategy (NFIS) seeking to reduce financial exclusion from 60% to 30% by 2022.

Perhaps amplifying Party of National Unity (PNU) President Highvie Hamududu’s high poverty, high unemployment and high income viewpoint, Gabaraane says a stronger financial sector will see Zambians being empowered as envisaged by the Vision 2030.

Gabaraane, a Tswana says financial institutions must align their social investment policies with the objectives of the 2017-2022 National Financial Inclusion Strategy (NFIS) and provide every Zambian with an opportunity to improve their economic standing through savings, investments and appropriate risk protection for assets.

The Stanbic Bank Zambia Chief Executive Officer says sector players must work to increase the number of access points for their services, especially in rural areas.

Gabaraane says digital technology has aided this process by making certain banking services portable and accessible from anywhere at any time, saying, though more support is needed to reach unbanked population through increased education.

“A strong commitment from banks and service providers is needed to advance the level of financial education in local communities,” prods Gabaraane.

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