HARARE – Tetrad Holdings Limited (Tetrad) says it is yet to get a license from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) to transform its investment bank into a commercial entity.
The group's subsidiary Tetrad Investment Bank (TIB) applied for a commercial banking license in 2011.
Christina Muchekeza, Tetrad's marketing head, yesterday told businessdaily that meanwhile, the group was preparing for the launch of the commercial bank.
“Our application for a commercial banking licence is still pending at the Reserve Bank. But we are renovating buildings and opening new branches not only at Samora Machel but also at Arundel Office Park,
Mutare and Kwekwe,” she said.
The bank’s planned move to engage in retail banking comes at a time when the future of merchant banking in Zimbabwe remains bleak as the country continues to experience acute liquidity shortages.
Last year, the central bank set a new minimum capital requirements for commercial banks at $100 million from $12,5 million and has spread the compliance over one-and-half years to June 2014.
Muchekeza noted that the group had also embarked on an information and communication technology exercise aimed at aligning the bank with international trends.
“In the meantime we are deploying intelligent teller machines. This is a new core banking platform which incorporates mobile banking, internet banking and a whole array of value added services as well as
few points of representation in preparation for this transition,” she said.
Tetrad remains confident that the current harsh economic environment – characterised by high finance costs, lack of cheap credit lines, electricity and water shortages – will soon pass.
“Our view is that the current liquidity challenges which are affecting the economy should be short-lived, therefore we see an opportunity in harnessing technology to provide convenient and cost-effective banking
solutions to the wider untapped market,” said Muchekeza.
“We are currently migrating our existing clients to a new universal core banking platform supplied and supported by leading banking software supplier Infosys Limited. The new system will enable Tetrad
to offer world-class and products and services supported by our new-look branches and service centres,” she added.
In the full year to September 2012, TIB made an operating profit of $163 569 compared to a profit of $756 233 in the prior year and a total comprehensive loss of $243 792 in comparison to the comprehensive profit of $596 454 made in the year ending 30 September 2011.
In the same year total income rose by 36 percent from $5 907 346 to $8 007 793, whilst operating expenses rose from $5 405 797 to $8 258 997, a growth of 53 percent.