HARARE, June 3 — Zimbabwe’s Steward Bank, a subsidiary of telecommunications services provider Econet Wireless, has ventured into correspondence banking, thus introducing to the local market the banking concept of acting as an agent for other financial institutions.

In correspondence banking, a financial institution provides services on behalf of another financial institution by conducting business transactions, accepting deposits and gathering documents on behalf of the other financial institution.

“Correspondence Banking, a concept common in America and other countries will allow customers regardless of whether they bank with Steward Bank or not, to perform transactions such as withdrawals and deposits through the ZimSwitch platform as well as cashing in and cashing out from their EcoCash wallets,” the bank said in a statement here Tuesday.

“As the Bank already benefits from the synergies of the convergence of banking and mobile network operations through its partnership with Econet Wireless Zimbabwe, it will utilize the already existing EcoCash Agent network, which is the widest mobile money network in the country as well as ZimSwitch platform for service delivery.”

In addition to the traditional banking services, Steward Bank said customers would also be able to make bill payments such as DsTV and ZINARA subscriptions.

Correspondence banking allows banks of all sizes to do business in other regions and countries without having to open a new branch.

Last year, Steward Bank introduced a “branchless” banking model which allows its clients to access banking services through agents without visiting a branch. Under the branchless banking model, customers would be able to access, from agents, services including cash withdrawals by card, bill payments, direct cash deposits, balance enquiries and receiving mini statements.

Clients would also be able to apply for debit and credit cards through the agents. —