Steward bank is now among the top five banks by income in Zimbabwe after posting a strong financial performance for the 12 months period to December 2017.
The bank’s fee and commission income grew by the highest margin and to the highest levels among the 15 commercial banks in Zimbabwe propelling the Econet controlled bank to an elite class of mainly foreign owned banks with superior incomes.
According to data analysis on banks by Equity Axis Research arm which focused on income composition and growth, Steward Bank ranked 4th among 18 banks moving from a position above 10 in the previous year. The list was topped by Old Mutual affiliated mortgage lender CABS which maintained its lead.
Steward bank’s Fee and Commission Income went up by 143 percent to $60.8 million in 2017 driven by a surge in transactional volumes in line with the bank’s digital banking and transactions business strategy.
The significant increase in Fee and Commission Income was necessitated by the integration of mobile platforms which saw more than 65 percent of its customers signing up to digital platforms which include Square mobile Banking, Kambudzi Banking and Ecocash Banking Services as part of an initiative labeled as “The Digitisation of Everything.”
Steward Bank has also been instrumental in terms of its contribution to the SME sector by providing services like the Zama Zama account designed to assist small businesses with financial literacy training, access to markets, technical and working capital facilities.
In its financial statement recorded for the year ended February 28, 2017, Steward Bank recorded a 45 percent growth in customer acquisition where total accounts grew from 396,978 for the year end 2017 to 573,916 for the year end February 2018.
In January, 2018, the Bank introduced Kwenga a low-cost merchant payment solution which increased merchant network nationwide. This enabled small business operators and vendors to accept electronic payments in light of the prevailing cash shortages.
According to the full year results for 2018, the Bank recorded an uptake of more than 10,000 Kwenga devices facilitated to taxi drivers, kombi operators, hairdressers, vendors and various small businesses and also complementing services like Ecocash whilst contributing to government’s efforts to increase the use of plastic money within the informal sector.
The Bank also offers iSave account and about 30 percent clients registered on mobile insurance through Ecosure, with 60 percent simultaneously registered on Kambudzi Banking thus contributing to the significant increase in Fee and Commission Income.
The top five by income comprised of CABS followed by CBZ , Stanbic Bank, Steward Bank and Barclays Bank in that order.