RBZ registers 19 new micro financiers

HARARE - The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) yesterday said it has registered 19 new micro financiers, bringing the total number of such institutions to 194.

The central bank’s registrar of micro financiers registered the 19 institutions during the period extending from January to June 30, this year.

Fifteen out of the 19 microfinance institutions are registered to operate in the capital Harare, two in Bulawayo, one in Masvingo and another in Ruwa.

Empower Bank, a State-owned micro bank targeted at youth empowerment, is the only registered deposit-taking Micro Finance Institution (MFI), with five being credit-only MFIs while 13 are moneylending institutions.

New registrants include Mirtenwall Investmets, Funamel Investments, Raysun Capital, Microventure Capital, Axafan, Premier Service Microfinance, and Loanster amongst others.

Commenting on the development, Zimbabwe Association of Micro Finance Institutions (Zamfi) executive director Godfrey Chitambo yesterday told the Daily News recently that the high unemployment rate, estimated to be around 90 percent, was driving the demand for micro credit in the country.

He said: “Due to the fact that unemployment is high, the demand for micro credit is on a high scale because the country’s economy is being driven by the informal sector and micro enterprises.”

Chitambo noted that authorities must have noted the huge gap between supply and demand of micro credit, adding that the 19 new MFIs are coming in to plug that gap.
“The new MFIs might have done a SWOT analysis and noted some opportunities.

“We assume that they are coming in to offer new products. Maybe they will utilise technology more; maybe they will be Fintechs, maybe they will fund the youths,” he said.

A recent micro finance sector report for the half year ended June 30, 2018 revealed that civil servants remain the main clients of MFIs because the sector is unwilling to offer credit facilities to unsalaried clients.

The report which was conducted by Zamfi indicated that this scenario leads to concentration risk and likelihood of failure should an unexpected event occur related to salaried clients.

Zamfi urged MFIs to mitigate the risk of over lending to salaried clients by developing products for non-salaried borrowers.

The association also urged its members to be innovative in coming up with new products for all clients, including unsalaried clients.

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