|However, by the late 90’s NatSave was facing the worst of times,
following the liberalization of the financial sector, it witnessed its
customer base dwindle as more foreign players entered the market
offering higher interest and exchange rates as well as high income on
treasury bills and foreign exchange dealing.|
During this period
parastatals and agricultural cooperatives were privatised as
government’s role in the sector reduced. This made rural banking
unattractive and international banks closed their rural branches while
NatSave experienced serious financial distress at the time.
the then minister of Finance, Edith Nawakwi, not recapitalised NatSave’s
operations giving it a new lease of life we might be telling a
different story today.
Since then the bank has not wavered.
NatSave has grown its branches from 9 at recapitalisation to 12 to its
current count of 28 nationwide. Of these branches, 16 are in the rural
areas with 12 in urban cities.
Government has commended NatSave’s
outreach to the rural communities. Chief economist Dr Fortune Kamusaki
speaking on behalf of the guest of honour, deputy minister, Ministry of
Finance and National Planning, Miles Sampa, said, NatSave was founded to
‘serve the interests of the local population that were not being met by
international banks who dominated the financial market at that time.
the 2010 census, it was established that 62% of our population lives in
the rural areas. Therefore, a bank, which makes strides taking
financial services to rural areas, as NatSave is doing, should be
commended. Some of the areas they have reached have serious
infra-structure challenges, but the bank has been courageous and
determined to fulfill their mandate. Studies have proved that there is a
very strong relationship between financial development and economic
growth. Therefore, for our rural areas to develop, they need financial
Reiterating a similar message was acting director,
Non-Banking department, Gladys Chongo Mposha, who was representing the
deputy governor-operations, Dr Bwalya Ng’andu.
congratulating NatSave on reaching the milestone of 40 years, she
said,‘Savings play a crucial role in any economy’s growth and
development. As at end of 2011, domestic savings in Zambia, represented
by total deposits were estimated at K18 trillion.
approximately 97% of these saving are held in commercial banks, the
non-bank financial institutions such as NatSave have equally played a
significant role, particularly through targeting the peri-urban and
rural areas as well as the low middle income household. However, the
level of savings is low at 19.7% of GDP and there is therefore
significant scope to increase the level of saving in the economy.’
managing director, Cephas Chabu said, ‘Our strategy for branch
expansion and development of affordable financial products confirms our
resolve to contribute to financial inclusion in this country.’
addition, Chabu announced the roll out of 15 NatSave automated teller
machines (ATMs) at a cost of K2.3 billion, along the line of rail and
designated provincial centres. These will be complimented by 100 ATMs on
the Zamlink switch allowing NatSave customers to access their funds
from other switch member’s banks.
Chabu also announced the roll
out of a pilot empowerment programme for vulnerable adolescent girls
called ‘Girls Dream Saving Account’ which encourages saving for girls
between the age of 10 to 19 year olds. This program will target young
girls from urban, peri-urban, and rural areas in Zambia and aims to
reach a total of 12,000 girls by the end of the 4-year intervention.
program is coordinated by Population Council and funded by the UK
Department for International Development that focuses on building
social, economic and health assets amongst vulnerable adolescent girls
Population Council representative, Natalie Jackson
Hachonda, said, ‘The girls will be taken through a financial education
curriculum during weekly group meetings in their communities, teaching
them skills on money management, financial goal setting, budgeting,
financial negotiation and prioritizing their spending.’
‘Helping girls to build sustainable assets is expected to enable girls
to take greater control of their lives and lead to increased educational
attainment, fewer unwanted pregnancies, less HIV infection, and
increased income generation. All of these effects in young women have
been shown to ultimately be critical steps on the path to poverty
Guests at the anniversary heard from Michael Mbulo,
from the Rural Finance Programme, who spoke of how his organisation was
working with NatSave to improve the livelihood of rural households
through increased use of sustainable financial services in rural areas.