Steward Bank ends 2020 with 1.9 million customers, Biggest bank in Zim?

Valentine Muhamba Avatar
Steward Bank housing project scammers, Ruwa Fairview Housing Units

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

Financial inclusion

FY 2019FY 2020Variance
Total number of low cost accounts1 209 0251 585 80931%
Lending to womenZWL$10 010 636ZWL$19 020 20890%
Youth lending ZWL$7 676 238ZWL$12 512 26763%
Agricultural sector loans ZWL$582 860ZWL$4 872 709736%

Digital Cashless Society

FY 2019FY 2020Variance
Value of POS transactions ZWL$1 899 235 129ZWL$4 288 689 136126%
Number of transactions on mobile platform25 561 45831 858 86525%
Value of transactions on mobile platformZWL$1 462 705 828ZWL$4 205 154 691187%
Value of electronic transactionsZWL$444 237 034ZWL$1 116 689 567151%
Remittance volume through World Remit86 502105 74922%

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:

Steward Bank delivered, but for you to send money to EcoCash through the app you’ll need to upgrade to the new Steward Bank app (Android, iOS)


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  1. Anonymous

    Steward Banks new app does not work at least for funds transfers. Very very poor customer service they have. They are too big to serve clients properly. I for one am moving!

  2. Anonymous

    That figure includes people like me, who never applied fora Stewart account but because i have an ecocash account, they abuse their access to my information and created accounts for me and probably many others alike. Very sad

  3. Fafi

    Does this figure include people who have accounts but stopped using them because of the bank’s high transaction costs?

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