Access Forex, a financial services giant, has expanded its market reach by catering for all facets of the country after partnering with financial institutions, agents and small business to offer instant and affordable access to cash services for all.
The bureau de change and remittance services institution for Zimbabweans in the diaspora, mainly in England and South Africa had been offering access to cash in towns and cities but has taken a deliberate approach to expand to remote communities which will enable the easy access of remittances.
The company's Business Development Manager, Mildred Kujinga told 263Chat that the move offers a competitive advantage as more people can be reached in smaller communities which had previously been neglected by other financial institutions.
"We have been focusing on serving towns and cities only but we have taken a deliberate effort to expand into serving the people in marginalized areas because of an elaborate need for people to send and receive money and becoming the sender of the last mile.
"In the past, we have been working through our branches with our partners but now we are going all out to partner with merchants, various banks, small businesses and agents.
"The whole point is that we want to try and serve the market conveniently and also affecting the most favourable charges," she said.
"The move is to support local businesses, the marginalized and also to dilute the informal market which has long been disadvantaging the market in as far as access to money and access to the hard currency is concerned," Kujinga noted.
The partnership with various stakeholders, according to Kujinga, entails that any potential customer now has the convenience to either walk into any partner apart from the Access Forex banking halls which speak to their lives.
Those in the rural areas, for example, can now be able to walk into a supermarket that is close to them and will access instant cash.
"And because we have the people at heart, our aim is to maintain consistent money transfer at the lowest charges especially for those communities which have been neglected for long.
"We are now across the country, and we're going beyond the urban areas, which is good news for rural dwellers " Kujinga added.
"The people who are in the UK and South Africa who have been doing these remittances are actually a lot happy that they can actually send the money to whatever town they want," she further stated.
According to the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, the country recorded a 33 per cent increase in Diaspora remittances to US$466,2 million as at 31 July 2020.
In complementing government's effort to enhance business flexibility during the COVID-19 era, Access Finance has also remained open during the stipulated working hours and beyond due to the flexibility proffered by the various merchants dotted around the country who are operating throughout the day and night.
"To top it off, we are observing lockdown hours and people should be able to be served Monday to Sunday. We are operating 24/7. If the formal stores are closed, you will still find us in merchants and you will find us through entrepreneurs, "she added.
The move has also created employment opportunities for those employed as agents as it is an income generation initiative.
"From a business standpoint, we are helping with income generation for the agents because we are not doing this alone. We have managed to create a revenue stream for them and they are happy about what we have done," Kujinga stated.
In April this year, the company unveiled an initial commitment of US$200 000 which is aimed at assisting the most vulnerable segments of society and communities across Zimbabwe who are now reeling from the negative impact of drought and the global Coronavirus pandemic.
Access FinanceReserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ)