30 April 2009

Zambia: Indo-Zambia Bank Soldiers On Amid Economic Downturn

THE need for expansion and sustenance of key financial institutions amid the global economic recession needs not to be overemphasised if the financial sector is to stand any chance of survival.

While other countries have been implementing different programmes to rescue their economies from the recession, specific financial institutions such as banks are also sweating to find answers on how they can remain relevant.

Job cuts as well as company closures have become common in both developing and rich countries a situation which has created a lot of worries.

One wise man once said courage is getting into a fight even when you are out numbered and this means that despite the world economic turndown, there is need for banking institutions to continue expanding.

Indo-Zambia Bank has slowly but surely demonstrated that despite the challenges in the financial sector business must go on as usual, while the expansion programmes should not remain in the pipeline.

Since its establishment about 25 years ago the bank has continued to expand in various aspects ranging from the opening of 10 new branches to continued creation of employment for the Zambian people.

The Zambian Government has the largest shares in the institution with 40 per cent, the Bank of Baroda and the Bank of India have and the Central of Bank of India have 20 per cent apiece.

In liabilities, the bank has seen a drastic increase in deposits and customers accounts from K446,665,844,000 in 2007 to K554,240,641,000 last year.

Apart from the continued expansion and exemplary services to its customers, Indo-Zambia Bank has also taken a lead in community projects through its social corporate responsibility.

This has benefited the vulnerable communities across the country.

Apart from the donations that have been made to various charitable organisations such as the Maureen Mwanawasa Community Initiative (MMCI), the bank has also managed keep its interest rate at affordable levels.

Perhaps one of the most significant milestones that the bank has achieved recently was the announcement that it would provide a loan scheme at Mulungushi University in an effort to assist students who cannot afford the current fees.

This will go a long way in assisting the underprivileged students to access higher education which today seems to be a preserve of the wealthy.

It is hoped that the underprivileged students will benefit from the loans and enable them achieve their goals.

Indo-Zambia Bank became the first commercial bank in the country to contribute towards the state funeral of president Levy Mwanawasa after the Bank of Zambia requested various banks to open accounts for the funeral expenses. The company donated K45 million.

It has also managed to raise awareness on the need to save by the communities through various activities and has been encouraging people to develop the culture of saving.

The culture of saving in the country is not very good because most people prefer to keep their money in their homes as opposed to banks.

It is hoped that as different measures are being put in place by various institutions including the Government and stakeholders, banks will employ good services that will contribute to the fight against the economic downturn.

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