ZB BANK yesterday unveiled an interest-free informal traders loan facility aimed at tapping deposits from the informal sector and improve the bank’s liquidity, acting managing director Mr Shadowsight Chiganze said. According to a recent study, the bulk of Zimbabwe’s urban population is involved in the informal sector, accounting for about 24 percent of the country’s US$10,81 billion gross domestic product which remains largely unbanked.
The ZB Bank facility, which comes on the back of the informal trader account launched in 2012 by the bank, came after wide consultations with small-to-medium enterprises through their associations and is expected to attract US$5 million worth of deposits from the small and medium enterprises by mid-2014.
The initial facility is for US$1 million.
The loan is a short-term loan which only attracts processing charges with a payback period of seven days.
Interest is charged only upon default.
Mr Chiganze said the loan facility will be launched in phases beginning at Siyaso in Mbare, where a MOU has been signed between the bank and Harare Home Industries Association.
“From there we will spread and expand to other areas,” he said.
The maximum loan one can apply for is US$500 and the minimum is US$100.
“Informal traders who have accounts with ZB Bank will have to submit applications in teams of four and cross guarantee each other,” Mr Chiganze said.
He said existing and new customers can come through their clubs. “We just urge customers to borrow responsibly and spend the money responsibly.”
The informal traders account can be opened with an initial fee of US$20 and has a minimum balance of US$10 per month. No charges are made for the first three withdrawals per month.