Economic stress hurts Zambian banks

Stanbic Bank Zambia has recorded a drop in borrowing by its customers because of, among other things, pressure on repayments brought about by stress in the Zambian economy, says chief executive officer Charles Mudiwa.

Mr Mudiwa said 2015 had been a tough year for the Bank as it had recorded less borrowing from customers which also added pressure on customer’s repayments.

Speaking at a visa promotion breakfast in Lusaka, he said:  “We have seen our customers borrowing less and less while some having experiencing pressure on repayments. The economy, to use the IMF word has gone through stress,

“A large part to do with it is low commodity prices that we have seen in the world resulting into kwacha depreciations and increased inflation rate, putting pressure on business and individuals,” he said.

Mr Mudiwa was however quick to mention that with determination and courage, Zambia would push through the current economic challenges.

“We know for you retailers that it’s been a slow year and for us too. We are all going through a difficult period but we all know that with determination and courage we can push through,” he said.

Mr Mudiwa also said the bank was working on ensuring that its customers only moved with cards during their transactions to avoid being robbed.

He said the bank held discussions with  the Zambia Information and Communication Technology Authority (ZICTA) to ensure that the network was perfect when customers were transacting using cards.

Meanwhile, the Bank urged its customers to avoid being victims of card fraud during the peak of the festive season by being vigilant in their card transactions.

Banks’ head risk Jaulani Mtine said card fraud was one of the most predominant financial crimes that occured at this time of year.

Mr Mtine said Stanbic and other banks worked tirelessly throughout the year, protecting customer’s money and transactions.

“We constantly adapt our fraud prevention strategies in response to criminals’ activities helping keep our clients transactions secure and successful,” he said.

He said the most effective weapon against card fraud was to be alert and informed, adding that card users would always be potential targets for criminals.

Mr Mtine however said customers would protect themselves and their family from fraud during the holidays and all year round by exercising caution.