THE setting up of Women Empowerment Bank is at an advanced stage with the bank’s chief executive officer already appointed to kick start the financial institution’s operations before year-end.
The bank CEO who is part of the nine member committee, is already smoothening some rough edges to open the bank. This comes after the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) set aside $15 million for the revolving Women’s Empowerment Fund, which supports projects owned and managed by women. The fund attracts an “all-inclusive” interest rate of 10 percent.
Women Affairs, Gender and Community Development Minister Nyasha Chikwinya, told The Herald Business that the bank is expected to officially start operations before the end of 2017.
“Almost every aspect is in place to roll out Women Empowerment Bank and a nine member committee, which includes the CEO has already started operations of the bank. What’s left is for some Information and Communication Technology connections to be set up so that the bank will digitalise its services to modern trends, while bringing convenience to its clients across Zimbabwe. We are putting in self-service centres to increase our convenience to female customers. Customers can come in, do all the transactions they want to do in this bank,” said Minister Chikwinya.
The Fund, whose operational modalities are currently being finalised, will be made available for on-lending through the new bank with the help of other commercial banks, Microfinance Institutions (MFIs) and People’s Own Savings Bank (POSB).
RBZ has recently engaged Small and Medium Enterprises Development Corporation (SMEDCO) over the Fund. The central bank believes the lack of gender-disaggregated data is generally a major constraint in crafting policies that respond to challenges faced by women in accessing financial services and products.