BY MISHMA CHAKANYUKA
NMBZ Holding Limited says it plans to expand its reach across the country by opening low-cost service centres and using the group’s information communication technology capabilities instead of setting up fully fledged branches.
The bank’s chief executive Ben Washaya told the company’s annual general meeting that the bank would leverage on ICTs to enhance its electronic delivery channels to customers.
“We opened a service centre in Chitungwiza in Q1 as we increase our footprint in areas where our customers are concentrated,” he said.
“You will note that since last year, we have been opening service centres as opposed to fully fledged branches in view of the cost of brick and mortar set-ups.
“In Q2, we are looking to open another service centre in Victoria Falls for us to be represented in that part of the country.’
During the four months to April 30, 2019, net interest income and non-interest income was 7,2% and 21,6% below budget respectively, whilst operating income was 22,7% below budget .
However, the bank expects to close the gap in the second quarter due to improved transactional volumes and the revision in service fees and interest rates.
The bank’s transactional volumes recorded a 17,5% increase between February and April 2019.
Operating expenses were 13% below budget and year-on-year operating expenses increased by 36,7% in response to inflationary pressures.
Washaya said the bank’s non-performing loans ratio improved to 7,32% from 7,46% in December 2018 despite the reduction in the total loan book size and the bank was on course to achieve a sub 5% NLP ratio by June.
The bank expects inflation rates to continue rising in the third quarter, from the 75,86% reported in April, although the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe has projected that by year-end the inflation rate would have gone down to a preferable range of less than 15%.
Washaya said the bank was waiting for the market’s reaction to the central bank’s announcement that it had started drawing down on a US$500 million facility, which would be injected into the inter-bank market.
By end of April , the bank had deployed 6,514 POS devices into the market.