HARARE – The People`s Own Savings Bank (POSB) has established a women`s desk to address financial needs of women across the board, becoming the 13th local bank to have such a facility.Speaking at the launch of Women`s Desk last week, Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Deputy Governor Dr Charity Lindile Dhiwayo said such a provision was in line with RBZ’s financial inclusion strategy launched in March this year.
“The Women`s Desk is expected to facilitate development of programmes, promotions, pricing policy and systems that adequately address the needs of women and in the process enhancing financial inclusion of women.” She said
Dr Dhliwayo noted that financial inclusion data globally highlighted a wide gender gap in terms of access to the financial services with the majority of women greatly disadvantaged when compared to their male counterparts.
“The latest Global Findex Database Report of 2014 indicated that, of the 2 billion unbanked population, 55 percent (1,1 billion) are women and that 58 percent of the women have an account with a formal financial institution compared to men, at 65 percent,” Dr Dhliwayo said.
She said uptake of credit by women was very low, with more than 77 percent of women not having access to credit. The Women`s desk facility the POSB has set up offers a range of services such as mortgage loans, corporate loans, SME microloan,
Terms for the loans offered by the institution include, microloans that are ideal for SMEs with short repayment period of up to six months and interest rate of 3,5 per month. Corporate loans are awarded to women in business to assist them in the financing of owned or co-owned companies and tenure is determined on a project by project basis.
The mortgage loan facility is aimed assisting women with funding they need to construct or purchase houses at the rate of ten percent per annum, repayable over 12 to 15 years.
This is line with the central bank`s quest to ease credit line problems that women were facing.
“The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe is in the process of establishing a collateral registry, which will facilitate the use of movable assets as collateral for credit, which most women own. The process of putting in place the requisite legal framework is underway.” the RBZ deputy governor said.
Among other services offered by the bank include savings platforms namely Smart Save Account and Easy Save Account which allow women to save as individuals or groups without incurring charges, withdrawal and monthly fees among other benefits to encourage them to use banks.