EXECUTIVES from the newly-opened Empower Bank and the Women’s Microfinance Bank yesterday met entrepreneurs and potential depositors in Bulawayo, paving way for the opening of their branches in Matabeleland region.
Both banks were officially opened by Government mid-this year to support economic projects and unlock potential by previously marginalised groups, mainly women and the youth.
The meeting, which was jointly facilitated by local empowerment organisations, Youth Invest and She Runs It, drew a large audience to the extent that the venue in the city centre could not accommodate all guests.
In their presentations, the bank officials said they have identified spaces in the city to set up their new offices so as to ensure clients from the region access their services.
Empower Bank hopes to open its branch in November this year at the Exchange Building along Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo Street.
Head of marketing at Empower Bank, Mrs Christina Muchikidza, said their strategy was to expand and reach out to all youths countrywide.
“Empower Bank’s main initiative is to reach out to the youth countrywide irrespective of location. It is in this spirit that the bank intends to open a branch here in Bulawayo at the Exchange Building,” she said.
“The bank is hoping to open the branch in Bulawayo in the first week of November.”
At the moment, Empower Bank has an information centre at Mhlahlandela Government Complex while the Women’s Microfinance Bank operates from the NetOne Building. Women Microfinance Bank loan officer Miss Sanele Moyo urged women entrepreneurs to apply for loans, which are offered at low interest rates.
“Personal loans for day-to-day needs as well as asset loans will be accessible to individuals and groups of up to nine people at an interest rate of four percent,” she said.
“As a bank we are in the initial phase and we are still growing, the interest rate charged is necessary in order for the bank to sustain itself for the next generation.
“You will find that our bank has one of the lowest interest rates compared to other banks.”
Empower Bank also offers loans whose interest rates range between four and five percent. The banks also urged those who attended to apply for funding in groups.
“You will find that when people come together from their communities, they already know and trust each other and therefore they co-guarantee each other.
“In fact, they will have group constitutions that will bind them into paying back the loans,” said Miss Moyo.
“With a wide variety of loans that WMB offers, the bank has a bias towards group loans because the group lending model will discourage the occurrence of non-performing loans.”