Mr Gabaraane says savings are a critical source of investment capital as well as an important buffer against unforeseen financial challenges.
LUSAKA, ZAMBIA – The head of Zambia’s largest bank, Stanbic, has challenged financial institutions to increase the role they play in the country’s quest to build a savings-conscious society.
Stanbic Bank Zambia Chief Executive Leina Gabaraane says financial institutions have an obligation to promote financial literacy and help forge a culture of saving in the country through public awareness programmes coupled with specially designed products and services.
Speaking ahead of World Savings Day on Saturday (October 31), he said: “Financial institutions must do more to create an environment where every Zambian can save and invest in a better future for themselves and their family. Whether you are saving for education, investment, or a dream wedding, it is the responsibility of banks and other financial institutions to facilitate that through market relevant products.”
The bank chief explained that saving had a multitude of benefits including acting as a cushion to unforeseen financial challenges.
“COVID-19 has had a huge impact on people’s finances following the partial lockdown the country was forced into to help slow the deadly virus’ spread. And as businesses closed and economic activities slowed, thousands of people lost their income,” said Mr Gabaraane.
“However, with effective savings, one can accumulate enough money to sustain them comfortably for a period while they get back on their feet. A loss of income does not have to mean loss of basic needs like sustenance and shelter.”
“At Stanbic, we constantly work to demonstrate just how seriously we take the need for a saving culture at all levels of the economy by developing several savings options designed to suit every customer’s need and financial capacity”.
“We have invested heavily in not only making the banking experience as efficient and pleasant as possible for our clients during this trying period, but also incentivised saving through competitive interest rates on certain accounts.”
“An engrained saving culture will serve as a vital tool in retaining the gains made in achieving universal financial inclusion through the National Financial Inclusion Strategy 2017-2022 as it promotes the use of financial services at both the informal and formal level. “It is for this among other innumerable reasons that sector players must increase their involvement in building a society that values saving.
“Our economy needs to achieve sustainable growth; our people deserve financial freedom, and a robust saving culture is a critical ingredient to attaining both. At Stanbic, we believe with concerted efforts, this can be realised sooner, rather than later.”