Steward Bank customer base swells as bank leverages digitalisation

  • Customer acquisition grew by 350 000
  • The bank outperformed the sector in terms of deposit mobilisation by 57%
  • Bank embarks on Core Banking System and Infrastructure upgrade.

Harare- The digitalization process adopted by banks has seen Steward Bank acquiring a larger customer base in the six months ended 31 August 2019.

Banks globally are fast joining the bandwagon of ICTs users through adopting the use of digital platforms in a bid improve customer service and ease of doing business, a move that has resulted in the birth of a number of various platforms in mobile and online banking.

The Bank launched the *236# Digital Account Opening Platform in December 2018 which since the launch saw the Bank receiving more than a million customers through the platform.

“During the course of the half-year, the number of customer accounts grew exponentially to 1.8 million, with 350 000 more customers being added to the ‘Purple Family’ “, the Bank’s Chairman, Bernard Chidzero said.

He also said the Bank’s ability to serve its customers and to address their needs through its innovative platforms resulted in them delivering a 152% growth in non-funded income.

Steward Bank’s recorded a profit before tax growth of 22% to $33.1 million, a performance which according to Mr  Chidzero was “underpinned by the resilience of our transactional banking model which leverages on the digital platforms that we have invested in”.

In the period under review, the Bank’s fee and commission income came in at $13. 99 million an 84% growth from that of the same period last year, an increase driven by among other things growth in customer base which in turn resulted in high transactional volumes.

The bank outperformed the sector in terms of deposit mobilisation, growing the deposit base by 57% above the same period last year a growth largely attributed to investment in digital channels with capacity to spur transactional business.

Steward Bank is leading the pack in terms the use of digital platforms, earning them a larger customer base as the country is currently grappling with cash shortages.

This has been attributed to the Bank’s ability to innovate as well as to integrate the digital platforms of its associate companies such as Ecocash which has made it easier for customers to access banking services on the platform.

On the Bank’s outlook Mr Chidzero said “in the previous financial year (FY2019), I highlighted that the Bank is committed to investing in digital systems to enhance both customer experience and service delivery. In this regard, the Bank has embarked on a project to upgrade its Core Banking System and Infrastructure. The full implementation and benefits of this project will be realised in Q3 FY2021”.

He also added that through the continued exploration of the use of modern technology they are confident that they will emerge as the front runner in customer experience and service delivery in the financial services industry.

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