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Trust links with international banks

In his first interview after taking over the reins, Nyevero Hlupo, Trust managing director told Standardbusiness the bank would also try to mobilise deposits and use shareholders funds to offer long term loans to clients.
Hlupo was appointed in November to roll out the branches and he said most of the bank’s departments are headed by ex-Trust Executives with the requisite skills and experience.
“As Trust Bank, we have put measures in place to ensure that we offer loans with a longer tenure through attracting a stable deposit base, tapping into international lines of credit and utilising our shareholders funds,” he said.
“We will also actively take a leading role in creating instruments that attract long term deposits, particularly from institutional investors as pension funds.”
Trust resumed operations last month and intends to have 10 branches operational by the end of January.
There is consensus that to be effective a bank needs a strong deposit base or links with international banks to open the doors to international capital.
In addition, sentiment has been that a bank also needs international backing in terms of shareholding.
Hlupo said the bank is “considering a number of equity options to be executed at a time convenient to the business and its shareholders” in order to buttress its lines of credit as well as to improve its capital base.
Trust will battle it out with 16 other commercial banks for business.
Total bank deposits were US$2, 3 billion in October. Of that amount the big banks contributes more than 60% of total deposits leaving smaller banks to scramble for crumbs.
Hlupo said the Zimbabwean economy has been resilient in the face of adverse circumstances and has shown signs of recovery as evidenced by growth in deposit levels and increased industry capacity utilisation.
In spite of the positive growth, Hlupo said, a large segment of the population remains unbanked.
“Accordingly, we believe that there are opportunities for all the existing banks,” he said.
Bankers Association of Zimbabwe president John Mushayavanhu said last month that US$2, 3 billion is sitting in the informal market and any bank which gets 100% of that share will become the biggest bank in the country.
Hlupo said the response Trust got from the market is overwhelming and “it is apparent that the Trust brand and equity is still significant in the market”.
Despite the large number of banks there is concern on the mismatch between lending and deposit rates. The Trust boss said this is largely driven by the short term nature of most deposits whilst loans are of a relatively longer term.
“As Trust Bank our focus is to create instruments that encourage long term deposit placement that will result in depositors realizing comparatively higher rates,” he said.
The harsh operating environment has spawned in strategic alliances as companies try to reach target markets. The Trust boss said the organisation “is alive to the concept of value centered strategic alliances particularly given our well documented historical strategic linkages with key players in the economy”.
Trust, Royal and Barbican were amalgamated to form the Zimbabwe Allied Banking Group (ZABG) in 2005. However, the three banks fought for the return of its assets. Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe later buckled under pressure and agreed to return the assets.
The trio was licenced and subsequent to that ZABG was unbundled into Trust, Royal, Barbican and ZABG.

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