The global financial inclusion champion Tanzania is today and the shining example of digital transformation it has become in Africa has not been a one-man show but a concerted effort involving strategic players like Exim Bank Tanzania.
The lender is not only one of the top local financial services providers but also a digital finance leader whose innovative initiatives have played a pivotal role in sorting out the country's financial exclusion challenges.
In its 24 years of serving the national economy and supporting Tanzania's development vision, Exim Bank has also pioneered several digital products and transformative solutions that have been impactful in creating a thriving and robust financial technology (fintech) ecosystem.
Moreover, through its unique digital capabilities, the bank continues to contribute meaningfully in driving the national financial inclusion agenda whose ultimate goal is to build an inclusive digital economy and eventually make Tanzania a cashless society.
Top executives at the bank say that the digital and fintech investments being made by Exim Bank are undoubtedly part and parcel of soon making universal access to affordable and honest financial services possible in the country.
"Universal access to, and use of, a wide range of reasonably priced financial services is possible and happening in Tanzania. We at Exim Bank are honoured to be part of that empowerment dream and national development vision," notes Mr Jaffari Matundu, the bank's Chief Executive Officer.
"Exim Bank offers a full suite of products and services designed to meet the needs of retail business, corporate and institutional clients. Customer centricity has always been at the heart of everything that Exim Bank does," Mr Matundu said recently in Dar es Salaam.
"Our innovation initiatives towards the digital banking space are an integral complementary part of the entire customer experience equation," he added while addressing journalists on the financial institution's customer-centric approach to innovation, which includes its digital finance and banking services.
Pioneer Solutions in Banking
According to him, Exim Bank has been a pioneer in a number of areas that have made inclusive financial services in the country a reality. The initiatives, he explained, continue to change the way payments, savings, borrowing, and even investment services are provided across the board.
The bank has had significant breakthrough innovations through the deployment of world-class technology and customer focused products. It was the first bank to introduce Credit Cards with the launch of International Debit MasterCard, Visa Platinum cards, TANAPA debit cards and Visa credit cards in the Comoros.
Exim Bank was also the first Tanzanian bank to launch mobile banking applications for smartphones, introduce mobile automated teller machines (ATMs) and establish an exclusive financing scheme for women.
Commenting on its role in the development of the local fintech space, a senior member of the National Council for Financial Inclusion (NCFI) said Tanzania's digital transformation and financial inclusion success story would be incomplete without mention of Exim's support and unequivocal contribution.
National Council for Financial Inclusion
"We recognise and appreciate what they have done and continue to do in promoting and supporting national efforts to include the excluded in the formal regulated financial system," the NCFI official told The Citizen in an exclusive interview last week.
According to her, Tanzania's financial inclusion journey is not a "one-man show" but a broad-based multi-sectoral approach, which is dependent on the commitment and contribution of various stakeholders to make it successful that involve both the public and private sectors.
Apart from its contribution in expanding the opportunities for Tanzanians to access and use quality financial services, Exim Bank is also reputed for being the first local financial services provider to establish a banking footprint abroad.
Apart from having presence in Dar es Salaam, Tanga, Morogoro, Kilimanjaro, Arusha, Manyara, Mwanza, Shinyanga, Kigoma, Iringa, Mbeya and Mtwara regions as well as Zanzibar, its operations also span abroad through overseas subsidiaries in the Anjouan, Moheli and Moroni Islands of the Union of Comoros, Uganda, Republic of Djibouti and in Ethiopia through the bank's operations in Djibouti.
This is an international presence unmatched by any other Tanzanian bank.
"Maliza Kirahisi Kidijitali"
During last year's Customer Services Week, the bank emphasised the effective use of digital services and promised its customers better fintech solutions going forward.
Its officials said no stone would be left unturned as the country strives to catapult financial deepening above the current levels of 85 per cent in terms of services accessibility and 65 per cent in usage.
As part of that endeavour, mid last year Exim Bank debuted a mouth-watering mass awareness campaign dubbed "Maliza Kirahisi Kidijitali" for promoting financial inclusion and supporting evolution of a cashless economy in the country.
Speaking at the event to launch the marketing blitz, the bank's Retail Banking head, Mr Andrew Lyimo, said the strategic initiative seeks to encourage their customers to embrace a cashless economy whereby they can virtually access services and transact digitally.
"The campaign is aimed at transforming user behaviour and further accelerating the country's ongoing shift from cash to digital payments especially during the course of the recent Covid-19 pandemic," Mr Lyimo noted on June 22, 2020.
"This campaign is also in line with supporting the government's vision to promote a cashless economy on top of ensuring our clients are served without having to go to branches," he added.
To make transactions more efficient and convenient for customers, Exim Bank offers several options for facilitating easier transactions that give its digital propositions many edges above the competition.
These include mobile banking services either through USSD or smartphones, a bouquet of cards, a vast points of sale (POS) network as well as online banking via the information superhighway (web) and versatile apps.
Supported by an extensive outlet network comprising 28 branches across the country, these digital options enables the bank's customers to access essential financial services anywhere at all times. That guarantees them the opportunity to make any transaction twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week with ease.
A better tomorrow
The head of Marketing and Communications, Mr Stanley Kafu, said the "Maliza Kirahisi Kidijitali" promotion, like the previous Cash Management Solutions awareness campaign, targets to put innovative financial services at the fingertips of the bank's growing customer base.
"Through our digital services, customers can access their accounts, make bank transactions conveniently from their homes or anywhere else and in turn have more time for other important matters in their everyday personal or work lives," he noted.
The Cash Management Solutions campaign aimed at enabling clients of Exim Bank to access a slew of customised products like Cash-In-Transit service, Host-to-Host services, Corporate Cheque Capture service and Cash Deposit Machines services among others.
"Exim Bank is always at work today for a better tomorrow through providing more financial freedom," Mr Kafu explained.