from WELLINGTON TONI in Harare, Zimbabwe
HARARE – THE phenomenal increase in mobile transactions in Zimbabwe is forcing banks to shut down some branches and lay off workers.
Central Africa Building Society (CABS), one of the country’s oldest financial institutions, announced it was closing 18 branches nationwide.
“In line with our branch rationalisation strategy, the branches will be closing down on 31 March 2020,” the Old Mutual-owned bank stated.
Stanbic, owned by the South African-headquartered Standard Bank, this week announced the closure of two branches with effect from the same date as it embraces a new digitisation strategy.
Zimbabwe’s banking sector has been hit by uncertainties, in the wake of inconsistent monetary policy changes, lack of cash and the advent of mobile banking in the last three years.
A number of established banks have been downsizing, in the process retrenching hundreds of workers.
Mobile banking has led to customers migrating from traditional banks.
Banks are experiencing cash shortages and with customers getting only about ZWL$100 in coins (equivalent to US$5 or R100), people resort to mobile transactions.
Traditional banks like Standard Chartered Bank have maintained just three branches- one in Harare and two in Bulawayo.
First Capital Bank (formerly Barclays Bank) also has two outlets.
– CAJ News