if you are a Steward Bank customer and have been experiencing some sort of service disruption, you are not alone. Since January 2017 the bank has been carrying out a systems upgrade which has disrupted the delivery of a number of its services.
About a week ago, the bank announced that the upgrade had been completed and that all services had been restored. The same message was also communicated by the bank’s CEO, Lance Mambondiani.
However, it turns out that there are still some cases of service disruption. A glance at Steward Bank’s social media pages like Facebook shows complaints made in relation to challenges with services like Bank-to-Ecocash transfers as well as account transactions that haven’t been registered.
Techzim even received complaints from customers who were failing to complete MasterCard transactions.
When we reached out to Steward Bank, the corporate communications team highlighted how there had been delays with some of the repairs to the banking services platform.
According to Steward Bank, most services are now functional and the systems upgrade was completed on most platforms. It will be fully wrapped up by the end of February 2017. In the meantime, there might some incidents of service disruption. Here are the responses and explanation provided by the bank.
Can Steward bank offer an explanation, technical or otherwise, for the challenges in service delivery?
The Bank carried out a systems upgrade in January 2017 to improve capacity across all channels. Whilst this was completed on most of our platforms, we have experienced some delays on some major repair work on our Banking Services platform. We expect this to be completed by the 25th of February. During this period, customers might experience intermittent disruption of service on banking services.
Are you in a position to provide a date when services will be fully restored?
All other platforms have now been fully restored with Banking Services expected to be fully restored on the 25th of February.
There have been issues brought to our attention and raised on social media, of failed account reconciliations. How is Steward Bank going to deal with this issue?
Any cases of failed transactions on the Bank’s platforms are instantly investigated and promptly resolved. We thank our customers for their patience during this upgrade and look forwarding to delivering an improved service once this process has been completed.
All eyes on a tech-focused bank
Steward Bank is a subsidiary of the country’s largest mobile network operator Econet Wireless Zimbabwe and as part of a communications and fintech entity, it has always been positioned as a technology focused bank.
Through an integration with EcoCash – the country’s largest mobile money service – and a wide implementation of an agent banking model that makes it easy for just about anyone to open and access a bank account, Steward has emerged as one of the most popular providers of financial services.
A system improvement to accommodate this growth in numbers makes a lot of sense. However, this has also meant that any sort of service disruption that it causes, especially in relation to e-banking services, is felt by a large pool of users.
Other banks like CBZ have, in the past, been called out for service disruptions and system failures as well. However, Steward Bank as a tech-focused retail service provider with a huge role to play in the delivery of everyday e-transaction services will be under a lot more scrutiny.