Bard, InnBucks ink deal to boost market shares
BARD Santner Markets Inc, a fast-growing local financial institution, has signed an agreement with leading online payment platform InnBucks Microbank Limited to leverage each other’s strengths to boost market share in an increasingly competitive Zimbabwean remittance business environment.
This comes hard on the heels of another deal signed by Bard and cash remittance firm Kuvacash recently after the well-subscribed capital markets conference in April in London, United Kingdom, attended by local, regional and international participants, including Bard executives.
Bard is a financial advisory specialising in corporate finance, asset management and wealth management, as well as financial intermediation, while InnBucks is the fastest-growing technology-driven and deposit-taking microfinance institution.
Registered and regulated by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe in terms of the Microfinance Act 24:30 and also a member of the Deposit Protection Scheme,
InnBucks’ mission is to drive financial inclusion through digital channels which are flexible, efficient and convenient.
As Zimbabwe’s financial sector expands, diversifies and deepens, the remittance business is rapidly growing as evidenced by the diaspora transfers, which saw a 14 percent increase last year, translating to US$1,7 billion, according to the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe figures.
The Bard and InnBucks deal will enable the two companies to capitalise on resultant synergies emanating from digital platforms and innovation to promote growth.
The follow-on convenience includes InnBucks clients being given the platform to access other Bard products and services through its asset and wealth management activities.
Further, the two companies will also provide responsive financial inclusion solutions. Consequently, new and existing InnBucks clients will now enjoy the convenience of being able to access services at Bard channels in addition to the already existing 300 Innbucks outlets countrywide.
InnBucks chief executive officer (CEO) Daisy Zinyemba said the deal with Bard will further increase her company’s footprint in the dynamic local financial market, including the remittance business.
“We are excited about this new partnership. In a market rapidly re-inventing itself, InnBucks strives to stay on top of the shifts in the market by prioritising our customer needs. We have a deeper understanding of the historical precedence, cultural forces and resonance of existing competitor propositions, hence we haven’t only ‘revolutionised’ banking, but our proposition is focused on sustainability,” she said.
Bard executive director Lucia Chingwaru said the partnership will boost the two companies’ capacity and efficiency to new levels while ensuring convenience for clients. She said it is important to capitalise on new opportunities in the digital financial services ecosystem to establish and grow viable businesses.
“We are pleased to announce our new partnership with InnBucks. Financial services are undergoing a ‘post office to email’ moment. As digitalisation accelerates, financial institutions should be able to offer better, faster and more bespoke or tailored services,” she said.
“The combination of technology from InnBucks and the value-chain of products and services from Bard is certainly a point of differentiation for customers and partners.”
Amid a wave of technology-driven economic disruption, the financial services sector is increasingly embracing digital innovation as a foundation of future growth, as platforms become more intertwined and integrated, giving massive impetus to fintechs.
Ms Chingwaru said: “In this sector, success in future will be achieved by those who have the greatest proficiency in utilising technological advancements to initiate innovative applications, generate value and shape the competitive environment.”
The rising value of remittance flows into Zimbabwe from countries like South Africa, Botswana, United Kingdom, Australia and the United States is often not widely appreciated.
At a macro level, these remittances support growth and are less volatile than other private capital flows, tending to be relatively stable through the business cycle, while at a micro level, they benefit recipient households by providing an additional source of income and mitigate incidences of extreme poverty.
In a way, remittances act as a form of “social insurance”, supporting households’ capabilities to resist economic shocks and help recipient households to increase spending on essential goods and services, investing in healthcare and education, as well as allowing them to build their assets, both liquid (cash) and fixed (property), enhancing access to financial services and investment opportunities.
Although remittances slowed down during the Covid-19 global pandemic, they remained more resilient than other private capital flows, making them even more important as a source of foreign inflows for receiving countries like Zimbabwe and their economies.