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– Herald

LISTED ZB Financial Holdings has vowed to continue supporting economic projects that assist the Government to realise its vision of creating an upper middle-income economy by 2030.

ZB head of marketing and corporate affairs, Ms Emilia Mabika, said the banking group was committed to continued support for Government programmes and partnering private sector activities to grow the economy.

She said the diversified financial services firm has over the years been rolling out funding packages to different sectors such as mining, manufacturing, agriculture, transport and logistics, small and medium enterprises (SMEs), women and the youth.

Ms Mabika told our Bulawayo Bureau in a recent interview that as part of their 70th anniversary in August, the bank will be rolling-out community development initiatives in line with Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

“Traditionally we support the Chamber of Mines as one of key the sectors. We have a mining desk in the corporate banking unit under ZB Bank, which is manned by a relationship manager who is a banker and mining expert,”

said Ms Mabika.

“We take the Chamber of Mines seriously as a way of supporting dialogue hence by attending such conferences as a bank we want to be able to develop a product and be guided in doing lines of credit. We get different stakeholder perspectives and network with other suppliers along the value chain while we also do our bit for the economy by contributing to discussions and deliberations in the sector.”

Ms Mabika said ZB Holdings was ready to offer loans and overdrafts and international offshore facilities where miners borrow and repay at a later stage after they export.

“We are doing countdown as we will be turning 70 years in August. We are old but we are young through digitization as we have not gotten stuck in the past, but we are aligning with the new normal,”

she said.

“Being 70 years means we are tried and tested and having local bank ownership helps to quickly adjust. We have supported a number of SMEs across sectors.

“We are big in education where we have a school fees payment platform. We look at these sectors at SME level where we come in as financial advisors and give strategy.”

Ms Mabika said ZB Holdings was also working closely with SMEs to develop their operations and become big corporates in the future.

“We have done a lot in mining and agriculture. We are the first bank to have gold buying centres where we have an RBZ office in the bank offering Fidelity Printers gold buying services and artisanal miners come with their gold, no questions are asked and they get their money,”

she said.

“This has proven to be convenient for small scale miners and from a country perspective it’s like we are formalizing the small scale sector.”

Ms Mabika said the banking group was keen to bridge finance gaps in the economy hence its stance to support growing of key crops such as soya as well as macadamia nuts and avocados. She said the bank also supports livestock projects in Matabeleland region while in Manicaland the bank was supporting organic food production.

Ms Mabika said adoption of digital technologies has impacted positively on ZB Holdings through enhanced operations and ease of transacting by customers.

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