Steward Bank to close 8 branches

Tinashe Makichi Business Reporter
Steward Bank intends to close about eight branches across the country, rendering more than 100 employees jobless, as the bank seeks to streamline its costs.
The financial institution, currently with 20 branches, has already shut four units and four more are in the process of closure.
The move is set to render more than 100 of its employees jobless.
A company official told Herald Business that the move was a cost-cutting measure.

“I can confirm that employees at some branches like Bindura have already received letters from the head office informing them of the retrenchment.
“This emanated from the bank’s move to close about eight of its branches across the country.

“More jobs are going to be lost,” the official said.
“Our branch consolidation is both internally and externally driven.

“While we have a good idea about our internal plans, we do not have much control on external dynamics,” the official said.
“Branches likely to be affected are Rusape, Mutare and Bindura, among others,” the official said.

It has also emerged that the bank is running away from brick and mortar to concentrate on mobile money.
The official said the bank is trying to improve its distribution channels while relying less on branches.

Efforts to get a comment from Steward bank were fruitless.
Econet’s chief executive Douglas Mboweni last year said since taking over the financial institution, the group had implemented tough restructuring measures.

The company brought in experts who looked very carefully at what was needed to operate a bank successfully in a market with no lender of last resort.
Econet cleaned up the balance sheet, wrote off bad loans, and fully recapitalised the bank.

“We eliminated all systemic weaknesses,” he said.

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