World

ZB targets diaspora market

LIVINGSTONE MARUFU


Listed financial concern, ZB Financial Holdings Limited, will lauch diaspora
banking and visa products next month as it moves to harness foreign currency from Zimbabweans living outside the country.


It is estimated that over 3m Zimbabweans are living outside the country in search of greener pastures.


ZB’s forays into the diaspora comes at a time when the local companies are grappling with foreign currency challenges due to mismatch between exports and imports in the country.

It also comes when ZB has been struggling to raise US$1m to set up an office in Mozambique for the reinsurance branch and while the bank waits for the Mauritius set up, the financial institution is optimistic that the diaspora will strengthen its balance sheet in the immediate future.


ZB group CEO Ron Mutandagayi told Business Times that there is a need to
link business with the outside world to keep it afloat in the hyperinflationary environment.


“Our diaspora banking and visa products have been approved by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) and in the next two to three weeks, we will be jointly launching the two products to raise forex and lend in foreign currency so that we can generate more forex for the company. On the visa card, we charge the card fees and transactional fees in forex,” Mutandagayi said.


He said the products will be launched virtually due to the Covid-19 and lockdown regulations. The forex generated from the products will be used
to help the local units where foreign currency remains elusive.

In its financial results for the year ended December 31, 2019, the group posted a net profit of ZW$433.6m in 2019, a 467% improved outturn compared to the loss of ZW$118.2m posted in 2018.


The group’s total assets reduced in real terms by 14% to ZWL$3.5bn as at December 31, 2019, from ZW$4.1bn as at December 31, 2018, reflecting a growth rate below-average inflation.


Growth in deposits and other related funding account balances were constrained, achieving a reduction in real terms of 49% to ZW$1.3721bn as
at December 31, 2019, from ZW$2.689bn as at December The group was able to maintain a comfortable margin of safety on its liquidity requirements, closing the year 2019 with a liquidity ratio of 88% (81% on 31 December 2018) against the prescribed ratio of 30%.


Total equity increased by 104% from ZW$739.1m as at 31 December 2018 to ZW$1 506.3m as at December 31, 2019, driven by the positive performance for the year as well as gains on the revaluation of properties and equipment
ZB Bank Limited posted a profit of ZW$215.5m in 2019, an improvement from a loss of ZW$41.1m in 2018.


The performance was driven by fair value adjustments on investment properties as well as the revaluation of the foreign exchange position.


The group established Syfrets Bureau de Change during the second quarter of 2019, operating under its banking business segment.


Business volumes in the early stages were substantial, tapering off only when the exchange differential between the interbank exchange rates and rates obtained on the par-allel market started to widen

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