CBZ Bank joins a growing number of banks in Zimbabwe that are no longer processing manual (paper) transactions for the transfer of funds whether internally or across to other banks.
Here’s their notice to customers:
Discontinuation of acceptance of manual RTGS and Internal Funds Transfers
CBZ Bank would like to advise its valued clients and all stakeholders that with effect from the 1st of June 2018, all branches will no longer be processing manual/paper RIGS and Internal Transfer requests. All clients will be able to perform the transactions via CBZ Touch, CBZ Internet Banking and Paynet conveniently anytime, anywhere.
We therefore urge all clients to ensure that they have registered on CBZ Touch, CBZ Internet Banking or Paynet platforms by the 31st of May 2018. For more information get In touch with your Relationship Managers or visit any CBZ Bank Branch. Alternatively, call the CBZ Contact Centre via toll free line 460/461 or general line 08677004050.
When this trend of banks going paperless started we asked if this would not adversely affect customers who do not have internet access particularly customers in the rural areas. It looks like our fears were needless, a few other banks have since gone paperless too and we haven’t heard any outcry from any inconvenienced customers.
Lack of financial inclusion could be reason
That there were no rural customers affected by migration of banks to online channels for transactions may mean there were not so many rural customers in the first place. This is actually very true. How many rural bank branches are available? Very few.
The poor penetration of banks in rural areas where more than 60% of the population resides is not a very good picture. However, this is not because banks are evil, far from it. The volume and values of transactions in rural areas would not sustain branches there.
Economic activity is not only low and seasonal in rural areas but it is distributed very sparsely.
Moving to online could mean more inclusion actually
Our previous assumption that going online could make financial services more exclusive to city and town folks was actually wrong. There was never going to be a business case that would support the building o f banking halls in rural and farming communities but digital platforms can be accessed from these areas.
Going exclusively online with stuff like RTGS processing could help banks to think digitally first which will help them solve the issue of low financial inclusion more effectively without strict and limiting definitions of what a bank should look like.
Just by increasing digital literacy in marginalised and far flung communities, financial inclusion will also be increased if banking is digitised as it is becoming. Digital banking hubs can be set up by the banks individually or to make things more efficient by the RBZ or a company like Zimswitch in these areas to cater for homes where there is no smartphone or internet access. This would be cheaper than setting up branches.
Zimbabwe is already cashless for all intents and purposes, the processing of transactions might as well be