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Affordable bank charges cited as key to banking sector growth

Story by Stanley James, Business Editor

ECONOMIC experts have cited affordable bank charges as key to boosting savings which are vital in consolidating gains within financial services value chains.

With Zimbabwe having achieved strides in the financial services sector characterised by viable institutions, concern is being raised over the financial sector ability to boost savings.

With the central bank describing local financial institutions as safe and viable for future investments, high bank charges continue to hinder long term savings.

Business Council for Sustainable Development in Zimbabwe Executive Director, Dr Dingane Sithole says affordable banks charges will further boost deposits, “It is an issue of confidence that is needed while local banks have to be commended for their resilience, concerns are being raised over the high bank charges that are hindering depositor confidence, while financial institutions need to balance their books between costs and income margins, a review of the charges will further boost their deposits hence broadening their ability to lend in a move that will translate into increased depositor confidence.”

While global shocks characterised by interest rate hikes by most central banks have not spared Zimbabwe’s banking industry, Africa Voluntary Carbon Credits Market Forum Executive Chairperson, Mr Kwanele Hlabangana noted the need for banks to introduce long-term loan packages.

“Indeed the high interest rate regime poses challenges to industry and commerce but remember Zimbabwe is within the global financial village where shocks have to a huge extent impacted the ability of the banking sector to lend therefore new packages are being needed so that the banking sector continues to play a vital role in economic development,” he said.

With the financial inclusion strategy spearheaded by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe bearing fruit, expectations are that the 2024 Monetary Policy to be presented in the next few weeks will address challenges affecting depositors.

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