Earlier on we reported on one half of Cassava Smartech’s fintech arm EcoCash clocking more than ZWL$93 billion in transactions since it’s inception. The other half, Steward Bank made its own strides as it ended 2020 with just 1.9 million customers by the end of the financial year.
This according to the Cassava’s report, makes Steward the largest bank by customer base in Zimbabwe as well as in transaction values. Steward bank recorded a market share value of card transactions of 15% and 19% when it comes to non-refunded income.
During the financial year, Steward Bank also processed 122 million transactions and facilitated over US$38 million in remittances.
Steward Bank impact
|FY 2019||FY 2020||Variance|
|Total number of low cost accounts||1 209 025||1 585 809||31%|
|Lending to women||ZWL$10 010 636||ZWL$19 020 208||90%|
|Youth lending||ZWL$7 676 238||ZWL$12 512 267||63%|
|Agricultural sector loans||ZWL$582 860||ZWL$4 872 709||736%|
Digital Cashless Society
|FY 2019||FY 2020||Variance|
|Value of POS transactions||ZWL$1 899 235 129||ZWL$4 288 689 136||126%|
|Number of transactions on mobile platform||25 561 458||31 858 865||25%|
|Value of transactions on mobile platform||ZWL$1 462 705 828||ZWL$4 205 154 691||187%|
|Value of electronic transactions||ZWL$444 237 034||ZWL$1 116 689 567||151%|
|Remittance volume through World Remit||86 502||105 749||22%|
Impressive numbers but Steward had problems in 2020
Even though the figures are pretty high (especially the 1.9 million customers) Steward Bank was not without its issues in 2020. The biggest was the systems upgrade the bank was undertaking for what seemed like the better part of last year.
This upgrade affected many of the bank’s services with customers constantly complaining about service delivery. One account that stands out is the one we reported on back in October last year. A Steward Bank customer took to Twitter to air his discontent with the bank.
The individual did an EcoCash bank to wallet transfer in October 2019 which resulted in his funds disappearing. He then tried to contact Steward Bank through its social media and customer services platforms to no avail. The money he was transferring was meant for medical bills as well as a legal obligation.
He was thankfully assisted before the due date for the legal obligation lapsed but the funds were transferred a year too late.
The rabbit hole continues
One of the stranger things that happened last year with Steward was that EcoCash was not under its ZIPIT menu. What’s strange about this is that Steward and EcoCash are sister companies under Cassava Smartech. One would think that when the National Switch Directive took effect there would be a seamless intermingling of the two Cassava subsidiaries.
We, of course, reached out to the folks at Cassava to enquire and we were told:
“Steward Bank has completed the integration and is now running internal tests before going live in the next few days”
The reason for the delay was, of course, the Steward Bank systems upgrade. Since we hadn’t checked this in a while we decided to have a look and see if Steward was true to its word and: