The country's oldest financial institution, Standard Chartered Bank Zimbabwe (StanChart), is planning to strengthen its franchise by rolling out its first digital banking platform for its retail customers before the end of this quarter.
Board chairman Lovemore Manatsa said the new platform aims to align the local financial services provider, which was established in 1892, with international best practices and the development will help the institution to be more nimble in serving its customers efficiently and effectively.
The bank, which is owned by British banking group, Standard Chartered Bank Plc, has been reducing its branch network in the country since 2016.
The bank said the digital transition programme is an international plan that has been introduced by the StanChart Group worldwide and will result in the local bank delivering better performance in future. This means, retail customers will have access to enhanced set of digital services.
"To align with the latest trends and to deliver on one of its strategic priorities, Standard Chartered Bank Zimbabwe is scheduled to roll out its first retail digital banking platform in Quarter 2, 2019 to give clients freedom of self-service on their electronic devices," Manatsa said.
"Our strategy of digitising the banking platforms (will) bear fruits through operational efficiencies and a reduction in costs."
He said the bank continues to invest in and promote use of electronic payments platforms in response to the cash shortages and in line with global payment trends and StanChart remained committed to meeting the needs of its clients and working with all stakeholders for the development of the economy.
In its financial results for the year to December 31,2018, StanChart's total revenue increased by 10,3 percent to US$69,1m from US$62,8m recorded in 2017.
The bank's net interest income stood at US$39,1m during the period under review from US$29m achieved in the previous year, which translates to a 35 percent increase, while non-interest income went down by 12 percent to US$30m from US$34m in 2017.
The bank's profit for the year rose by 38% to US$18,4m during the reviewed period from US$13,3m achieved in the previous year.
The bank's balance sheet remained strong and highly liquid.
Total assets grew by 16 percent to US$948m during the full year to December 2018 from US$816m recorded in prior year.
Manatsa said he was confident the bank would meet the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe's capital target of $100 million by the end of December next year.
The bank's bond and TBs stock went up by 35,3 percent to US$362,2m during the reviewed period from US$267,8m in the previous year, while its loan book shrunk by 9,02% to US$139,2m from US$152,9m in prior year.
The bank's non-performing loans ratio was 1,2 percent, a significant improvement from 2,8 percent recorded in the previous year.
This was against a Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe's regulatory threshold of five percent.