up with Mr Guvamatanga to discuss various issues related to the banking sector.
FK: Give us a brief background about yourself, education and career path?
GG: Thank you Fanuel. I am a career banker and was appointed the managing director of Barclays Bank Zimbabwe in January 2008 after more than 18 years of banking experience. During this period, I was fortunate to have held roles in retail banking, treasury, commercial banking and operations, which allowed me to fully understand all facets of banking.
I currently hold an MBA in Banking with the University of London, Centre for Financial and Management Studies (CeFiMS) and an ACI dealing certificate. I have also completed Executive Development Programmes with the University of Pretoria (Gordon Institute of Business Science) in South Africa, Success Motivation International (USA) with the University of Chicago and I am an Associate of the Institute of Bankers Zimbabwe.
FK: Could you give us an overview of the banking sector in Zimbabwe?
GG: There has been a tremendous shift within the banking sector in Zimbabwe over the past couple of years. The industry has become vibrant as we see a positive growth in deposits from 2009 when the multi-currency regime was adopted, an increase in loan facilities, introduction of new technologies, strategic partnerships with VISA and MasterCard to just name a few.
FK: What would you say are the major challenges facing the financial services sector in Zimbabwe?
GG: Liquidity remains a pivotal issue and the BAZ fully supports the initiatives being made by the Ministry of Finance and the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe to improve the liquidity crunch we are currently facing as an industry. The proposed resuscitation of an inter-bank market will allow banks with excess liquidity to assist other banks in need.
BAZ believes that the RBZ should resume its role as a lender of last resort and banker to Government.
Realisation of full financial inclusion across the market also remains a challenge. It is the desire of BAZ to ensure that the majority of Zimbabweans are able to access banking services wherever they are. As such, banks are faced with the task of introducing creative products that address this anomaly.
FK: There has been widespread criticism that banks are not adequately supporting the productive sector and agriculture in particular, what is your comment?
GG: Since 2009, Zimbabwe’s banking institutions have supported the agricultural sector in an environment where more than 80 percent of our business are short-term deposits requiring banks to have adequate liquidity. Given these constraints, the banks’ initiatives are commendable. Growth over the past three years has seen the industry invest US$226 million in December 2009 and more than double that amount as of November 2011 with US$470 million.
FK: What measures have you taken as the financial services sector to help manage risk insofar as consumer credit is concerned?
GG: The absence of a credit bureau has created an information gap that has since been exploited by borrowers who commit against the same cash flows from different banks. The BAZ currently in dialogue with relevant stakeholders to ensure that this issue is addressed
BAZ believes that the re-introduction of a credit bureau will allow lenders to evaluate risks, improve portfolio quality, lower the costs of credit for good borrowers, increase access to credit and lower lender operational costs.
FK: How would you describe the contribution of the financial services sector to economic growth?
GG: The financial services sector has played a significant role in the growth of the economy with loans totalling US$1,1billion in 2009 and US$2,9 billion in 2011. This growth is evidence of a growing economy that is driven by a fruitful partnership between banks and businesses.
FK: There has been a slump in the confidence levels of the financial services sector over the past few years, what measures are you taking to restore that confidence?
GG: BAZ recognises the importance of an educational campaign that increases the understanding of banking services across the country. The increase of informative channels will create a more informed and financially empowered public. Transparency and integrity remain important aspects in gaining that confidence.
FK: What are your views regarding the indigenisation policy in Zimbabwe?
GG: BAZ has made submissions to the financial services sectoral committee where we articulated our position as an organisation. This is still under discussion with key stakeholders. However, our members, in their individual capacities, have also made their submissions as per regulations. BAZ is committed to the development of Zimbabwe.