HARARE – Newly-branded Steward Bank, formerly TN Bank, says it has rationalised its operations as part of efforts to contain costs and boost operational efficiencies.
“In the past few months we have undergone a significant rationalisation of our human resources capabilities. A new highly experienced board and management team has also been appointed from diverse backgrounds,” said the bank’s chief executive Kwanele Ngwenya at the official launch of a new corporate identity yesterday.
Following the acquisition of the financial institution by Econet Wireless Zimbabwe Limited (Econet) in February this year, the new shareholder swiftly reshuffled the bank’s top management to ensure the organisation had the right leadership in place to direct the success of its business.
Kwanele said the bank’s services will be compactly integrated with its telecommunications parent shareholder to foster flexibility and speed in the market.
“We are very excited to take advantage of the telecoms systems and our relationship with Econet. We are the first bank to have such a tight a relationship with a mobile telecommunications operator,” he said.
Kwanele noted that parallel to the rebranding exercise, Steward Bank is implementing visible changes to its branch network and product proposition that will be effected over the next few weeks.
“We are working on a seamless transition and have set up a call centre to provide an interactive platform for our customers. We are committed to transforming Steward Bank into an innovative, stable and dependable institution. Our aim is not just to create another bank, but create a new banking habit and behaviour,” he said.
Last month, Ngwenya indicated that the new structure would ensure “consistency across our enterprise, streamline decision-making, accelerate product development and deployment, enable us to achieve functional excellence, and enhance the capability and reliability of service delivery to our customers.”
Steward Bank also plans to roll out state-of-the-art Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) and is currently testing their functionality before installing and commissioning them.
“It’s a critical delivery channel that we have invested in and at the moment we are busy testing systems around how best we can service and deliver to customers. We have invested quite a bit on them, it’s not going to be ordinary ATMs but high tech,” said Ngwenya.
He added that they had also invested in “more or less the same in security systems that will keep away thugs as it was critical that customers’ money be in safe hands.”
He added that they had found their niche and this was going to be felt in the market soon.
Econet acquired a 45 percent equity stake in the bank in July last year and made a subsequent offer to shareholders in January that saw the mobile telecommunications group shoring up its shareholding to a 98,6 percent controlling stake in the bank.
The listed mobile telecommunications company took control of and demerged TN Bank from founder Tawanda Nyambirai’s Lifestyle Holdings.
Following the demerger, Econet instituted massive board and management changes that have resulted in a virtually changed TN Bank.
The changes resulted in the entire board led by former Econet chairman Tawanda Nyambirai being replaced by a new look board chaired by Oluwatomisin Fashina.
Steward Bank is currently capitalised to the tune of $76,9 million, surpassing the deadline of $50 million minimum capital threshold set for end of June by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ).
Last year, RBZ governor Gideon Gono ordered banks to recapitalise to a minimum $100 million in a phased manner.
The institutions were supposed to comply with the initial phase of $25 million whose deadline expired on December 31, 2012.
All banks are required to reach $75 million by December this year before eventually reaching $100 million by June 2014.