BUUMBA CHIMBULU writes@SunZambian
ATLAS Mara Zambia customers now able to borrow and open accounts online as the firm drives the digital agenda to higher heights.
Head of Retail and Digital Banking, Teza Ngulube, said this was meant to catch up with the evolving world which was currently spearheading the digital agenda.Mr Ngulube was speaking in Lusaka at the first draw of the “Three Houses, Three Ways to Win campaign” in partnership with Nkwashi and Lafarge.“We know that the world is evolving and we cannot afford our customers coming to the physical infrastructure to access banking services so we are allowing them now to open accounts from anywhere they are.“Atlas Mara being the leading digital bank in Zambia, always looks for innovative ways to provide services to our customers through our various products and services we offer,” he said.Banking is undergoing nothing short of a technological revolution. With every aspect of the financial sector undergoing dramatic overhauls of internal operations to provide up-to-the minute customer-facing offerings, there is not a corner of this market that is not reconfiguring its infrastructure, strategy and processes.Atlas Mara is a bank focused on investments and operations within sub-Saharan Africa and it too has radicalised its business to keep up-to-spin with all the latest disruptive technology in the sector.According to Bank of Zambia, in recent years, the Digital Financial Services landscape has changed quite dramatically, even in Zambia. The usage of digital channels for the delivery of payment and financial services has grown considerably.The majority of commercial banks have developed and deployed mobile applications that their customers use to access financial services.Similarly, e-money issuers are capitalising on smart and ordinary mobile phones to offer financial services.The number of active mobile money wallets has increased over time. As at end-2016, a total of 6, 513, 725 mobile wallets were registered and of these, 521,098 were actively transacting (meaning on average a transaction being conducted in 90 days), representing 8% of the total registered wallets. As at end 2019, 14, 270, 705 mobile money wallets were registered and 4,852,040 were actively transacting, representing 34% of the total registered mobile money wallets.
On the whole, digital financial services have recorded significant growth, with mobile money payments posting an annual average growth of 126% in value from K2.07 billion processed in 2015 to K49.45 billion processed in
- Transactions through Point of Sale machines increased from K3.04 billion in 2015 to K20.09 billion in 2019. This represents a leap of 560% in values of transaction over a four-year period.The performance of other electronic payment streams, such as, the Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) equally recorded remarkable growth, posting annual average growth of 35% in value from K21.83 billion processed in 2015 to K67.81 billion processed in 2019.From these statistics, it can clearly be demonstrated that there is great potential in Zambia to have more people financially included through digital channels and ultimately in the digital economy.The COVID-19 pandemic has had a positive impact in the retail payment system where the values processed through the mobile channel peaked at K7.80 billion in April 2020.Recently, Atlas Mara Bank has extended a One Billion Kwacha package to give relief to customers that have been adversely affected by Coronavirus pandemic.The One Billion Kwacha worth of loans also includes reduced interest rates, facility reductions, capital and interest repayment holidays or moratoriums.Atlas Mara Bank Zambia Managing Director James Koni said the bank has accessed part of the K10 billion Bank of Zambia Medium Term Facility funding.Mr Koni said the bank will provide businesses with appropriate financial and debt distress support programmes.Adding that the relief package was disbursed to existing credit facilities to support businesses facing financial distress caused by the Covid -19.Atlas Mara, in its quest to reach out to potential customers has unveiled a series of promotions and in the past week gave away monthly prizes to 30 winners under its campaign Three Houses, Three Ways to Win.Atlas Mara Bank, Nkwashi Estates and Lafarge Zambia PLC have officially launched the Dream House Promotion.In his speech at the launch on September 16, Atlas Mara Bank Managing Director James Koni said “As the result of this partnership, we will be giving away 3 bedroomed houses at the Nkwashi Housing Estate worth K1,100, 000 each and collectively K3,300,000. In the build up to the grand prizes, where one house will be given out every 3 months, customers will also stand a chance to win monthly prizes over the campaign period amounting to over 100 building starter packs which include bags of Mphamvu and Supaset cement, wheelbarrows, dump roof membranes and other building accessories.Mr Ngulube said winners under the campaign stood a chance to win a three bedroomed high costs starter a houses at the Nkwashi Housing Estate worth K1,100,000 each.“We are excited to have integrated the Atlas Mara Mobile Banking App and the Tenga Mobile Money wallet on Tigmoo Eats, which currently offers over 8,000 products on the platform with country wide delivery offerings and multi-payment options,” he said.Lafarge Commercial Director, Chooye Hamusankwa, said the cement company would continue to be innovative to empower its customers and the community through promotions.He said the promotion would run until December 15, this year in Solwezi, Chingola, Ndola, Kitwe, Lusaka, Livingstone and Chipata.
“Our aim is to not only to empower our customers by providing shelter for them, it is also a way to appreciate our customers for staying loyal to our brand,” Mr Hamusankwa said. Tigmoo Eats Chief Executive officer, Vikas Kumar, said his company was happy to work hand in hand with Lafarge and Atlas Mara in offering consumers the convenience of ordering cement online as well as the ease of payment using Atlas Mara banking & the Tenga App.