Conrad Mwanawashe Business Reporter
BARCLAYS Bank Zimbabwe is in the process of evaluating its portfolio while investing in lucrative products and markets which have potential to grow the bank’s bottom line, managing director Mr George Guvamatanga said.
As part of the strategy, Barclays recently acquired and refurbished its Kadoma branch as the bank targets the Mashonaland West town market for expansion.
The bank had left Kadoma early 2000 but returned in 2007 after setting up a container branch from where it was operating for the past nine years.
“We are simply coming back. We believe in Kadoma. We actually bought this place and refurbished it. We own it,” said Mr Guvamatanga.
Mr Guvamatanga was speaking at the official launch of the branch last Friday.
“Kadoma is very strategic and at the centre of Zimbabwe if we consider its geographic location. We had many options but when this property was put up for sale it was an easy decision for us to buy and refurbish it. This is quite refreshing for our customers and for the colleagues who have diligently served in the container branch. The idea behind the branch we have been using was to test the market,” said Mr Guvamatanga.
Kadoma offers a promising market for the bank which includes agriculture and mining with minerals such as gold, copper and nickel. Cotton farming at its peak dominated the market.
Mr Guvamatanga said Kadoma is a promising market and justifies the investment.
“From our perspective there is an opportunity there and activity. There are certain centres which we think even if it’s not making money we cannot get out of. Fortunately for us Kadoma does make money and it justifies the investment. This is the second branch that we have refurbished following our recent launch of the Joshua Nkomo branch in Bulawayo and we will be carrying out this same exercise in some of our branches across the country,” said Mr Guvamatanga.
Barclays is also focusing on other priority options such as Zvishavane which is the last remaining container branch. The bank is also introducing new products such as the Hospital Cash Plan and Cashsend on mobile and internet banking platforms.
“We are not only bringing this branch but we are also bringing other products such as paperless banking. We will also be launching what we call remote account opening. We are now able to send our personal bankers wherever you are to facilitate account opening,” said Mr Guvamatanga.