Zimbabwe: Stanbic Intensifies Safety Against Coronavirus

13 January 2021

Leading financial services institution, Stanbic Bank, is banking on its top-notch innovative mobile and internet platforms to ensure its clients are well served throughout the 30-day lockdown.

Having just been awarded Best Bank by The Banker in December last year for innovative products that mitigated against its clients and employees contracting the coronavirus, the Standard Bank group subsidiary is going full circle to implement the same measures that put its customers and staff's safety first.

Stanbic Bank head of marketing and communications, Mr Palmer Mugavha said the institution was adopting a safety-first approach for the benefit of both its customers and members of staff and its digitisation strategy will ensure that this approach is achieved without much incident.

"This invisible creature called Covid-19 has reared its ugly head in a more deadly fashion and we have to be more alert now than ever before because of the nature of this second strain.

"As a bank we have ensured that 70 percent of our staff work from home albeit with emphasis that the level of customer-centricity which has been our hallmark over the years is upheld even more" said Mr Mugavha.

About two weeks ago, Zimbabwe tightened restrictions meant to curb the spread of coronavirus, including a 6am to 6pm nationwide curfew and banning of non-essential businesses.

This was after the country recorded a surge in Covid-19 infections and deaths and the latest round on restrictions is meant to keep everyone not in essential services at home except when they need to buy food or medicine, collect water or seek medical attention among other essential needs.

Mr Mugavha said while Stanbic fell under an essential service whereby workers were permitted to work, the institution was relying on its highly innovative mobile and online banking platforms to ensure customers were not compromised in any way, shape or form throughout the lockdown period.

"Stanbic Bank definitely applauds Government for ensuring a lockdown because the numbers of lives lost is sky-rocketing while staying indoors has to be at the forefront of any measure to mitigate against the spread of this disease.

"In that regard, as a bank we are encouraging our clients to make use of our numerous platforms and do their transactions from home," said Mugavha.

In 2018 Stanbic adopted digitisation as a means of keeping abreast of technological advancement in line with global trends, which also became a means to mitigate against the menacing Covid-19, which broke out in March last year.

The advent of Covid-19 meant the institution had to "think outside the box" and introduce new products that would ensure the safety of its customers and employees while still offering convenient service.

To that end, Stanbic launched debit cards and Point of Sale (POS) machines, becoming the first financial services institution to introduce this highly secure, innovative technology onto the Zimbabwean retail market.

The contactless debit cards and point of sale machines are symbolic of how Stanbic adheres to its customer-centricity nature especially in this era of Covid-19 and has been accepted in 78 countries world worldwide.

It is estimated that all point of sale terminals in Europe will be contactless enabled, so Stanbic embraced the secure innovative technology which is highly convenient during this "new normal" and in particular the second phase of lockdown.

Apart from the contactless debit cards and point of sale machines, Stanbic Bank stepped up functionality of FCAs on digital banking platforms in addition to launching a technologically advanced application which allows account holders to pay bills and make in-store purchases from their phones using QR code scanning technology called SlydePay.

This lockdown comes as Stanbic has just taken the cost of accessing some of its digital banking platforms from the customer to the bank.

In December Stanbic made sure its customers enjoyed the convenience of digital banking by taking over the internet data cost in pursuit of its customer centricity approach while implementing its digital bank strategy.

To that end Stanbic zero-rated the platforms for all their customers who are Econet subscribers in recognition of the escalating data bundles costs among others.

Stanbic is in negotiations with the other mobile network service providers to make the same service available to Netone and Telecel subscribers.

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