Ecobank tapping into Zambia’s unbanked population
As part of its expansion plan, Ecobank Zambia is set to open eight new branches across the country next year. It is hoped that the new branches (two in each quarter of the country) will draw in rural communities who have had no previous banking opportunities. Focused attention will be given to developing mobile banking options so as to make Ecobank’s services more widely available.
Ecobank Transnational Inc. (ETI) – “The Pan African Bank” – is a large financial services provider operating in 33 sub-Saharan African countries. Established in 1985, it has its headquarters in Lomé, Togo, and as of December 2012 earned total revenue of $20 billion. It has an estimated customer base of 13.7 million, roughly 70 percent of whom reside in Nigeria. Ecobank Zambia is headquartered in Lusaka.
Ecobank Zambia’s managing director, Jolone Okorodudu, speaking in a Lusaka interview, said, “We plan to extend financial products and services to the rural parts of the districts in the country, because we have seen a lot of potential in these areas.” Solwezi, Chipata and Kitwe are among the districts on the agenda. Okorodudu added that they would continue to work with the National Savings and Credit Bank (NATSAVE) to reach populations where Ecobank has no physical presence. No official cost estimates have yet been announced.
Ecobank’s planned programme is in keeping with Bank of Zambia (BoZ) Governor Michael Gondwe’s encouragement to commercial banks to extend their products and services throughout the country so that all nationals might enjoy banking opportunities. Okorodudu has said that Ecobank will work in tandem with mobile operators to help make possible nationwide access.