Youth bank, Empower Bank, is yet to open a branch in Matabeleland north provincial capital, Lupane, as its balance sheet is still weak, Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation Minister, Kirsty Coventry, has said.
The microfinance bank currently has branches in Bulawayo, Harare, Masvingo and Mutare.
Responding to a written question by Matabeleland North proportional representation legislator, Mail Nkomo, in Parliament recently on when the bank would expand to Lupane, Coventry said that might not be soon.
“Empower Bank’s medium to long term plan is to have physical presence in all the 10 provinces of the country to fulfil its financial inclusion mandate,” said Coventry.
She said the Bulawayo branch was also responsible for Matabeleland North and part of Matabeleland South and Midlands provinces while the Harare branch was also responsible for Mashonaland West, Central and East Provinces
“Masvingo branch is also responsible for parts of Matabeleland South and Midlands provinces,” said Coventry.
“Mutare branch is also responsible for part of Mashonaland East province. The bank is in the process of recruiting bank agents across the country with a view of having at least an agent in all the districts of the country. The agents will allow Empower Bank customers to easily access its products across the country.”
She added: “Currently, Empower Bank services can be accessed through its outreach programmes wherein bank staff visit districts in collaboration with the Ministry of Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation officials, ZimSwitch enabled Debit card on POS Machines and mobile banking.”
Nkomo said having a branch in Lupane would help cater for the financial needs of young people in Matabeleland North easily.