ZB Financial Holdings is celebrating 70 years in business. That is quite the milestone, especially in Zimbabwe where we have seen a significant number of banks rise and fall. ZB has weathered hyperinflation and the other unique challenges the Zimbabwean economy has presented and stands today to tell the story.
In his speech celebrating the 7 decade anniversary, the CEO gave a short history of the group. I have no doubt you will find it as fascinating as I did.
SPEECH BY THE GROUP CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER OF ZB FINANCIAL HOLDINGS LIMTED ON THE OCCASION OF THE GROUP’S 70th ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION
Good evening honoured guests, partners and stakeholders. It is my singular honour to welcome you to a celebration of what has become a national icon, not only in our given industry, but in the nation as a whole.
Today we celebrate what is now known as ZB Financial Holdings Limited, with a realization that what we see today is the amalgamation of years of experiences and memories that have resulted in the creation of this formidable financial services group, but more importantly, memories that have shaped, contributed to and changed lives.
Being in the leadership of this great organization at this milestone moment is an honour which we approach with humility and reverence, knowing that we have been handed a legacy of success and an uncanny knack of presenting financial solutions that solve life’s challenges, a culture we uphold to this day.
Since its launch in September 1951 as the The Netherlands Bank of Rhodesia Limited, the Group has grown from strength to strength. This is not merely from a corporate perspective, but also in the way it impacts society and seeks to change lives.
In 1972, the company changed its name to Rhodesia Banking Corporation Limited and then to Rhobank in 1979. It changed its name once again in 1981 to Zimbabwe Banking Corporation (Zimbank) after the Government purchased the majority shareholding.
The Post-Independence period is recorded as probably the most progressive for the Group, given the strides that we have made in this period. Who here can claim not to know, or have interacted in some way with Zimbank, Scotfin or Sybank ? Most of us will remember the days of the Kiddy & Teen Bank, Zimbank Global, Diners, Visa & MasterCards, Bank-Book and subsequently the launch of the debit card under the moniker, Cash 24.
In 1989, the directors of the company undertook a restructuring exercise with the objective of bringing all subsidiaries and associates under one investment and holding company, Zimbabwe Financial Holdings Limited. The restructuring allowed the Bank to concentrate exclusively on providing commercial banking services to the public.
The new holding company was ideally placed to explore other profitable business activities, which were not previously possible because of restrictions placed on the investment activities of the Bank in terms of the Banking Act.
The acquisition of a number of subsidiaries over the years has allowed the Group to offer a wide range of services which include commercial and merchant banking, leasing as well as trust and executor services.
The 30th of October 2006 was a momentous day as the Group which had just acquired the Intermarket Holdings Limited Group, adopted a new monolithic brand and formally changed its name from Zimbabwe Financial Holdings Limited (Finhold) to ZB Financial Holdings Limited (ZBFH). This made ZB Financial Holdings one of the most diversified financial services companies in the country.
However, in line with our thrust to be at the cutting edge of financial services, we have now rationalised our offering to fall under an integrated business approach that speaks to – One Digital ZB – taking pride in our core offerings of Banking, Insurance and Investments.
This means that in the various moments of business and life, we are able to support and assist our customers and partners to achieve their objectives, through our ability to cross-sell, effectively delivering a single-source solution to financial services.
This speaks well into our Purpose, which Team ZB has understood with clarity, to improve people’s lives through sustainable and innovative financial solutions. Indeed, internally, we continue to emphasize that we are not in the Financial services business, but we are in the business of facilitating life and business.
This dovetails well with our vision of being a globally acclaimed provider of total financial solutions, firmly rooted in Zimbabwe.
And being globally relevant has taken on a new meaning since the advent of the Covid-19 pandemic, wherein, the globe has become even smaller with the access that individuals now have to global providers. Therefore our benchmarking has changed from offering solutions relevant in Zimbabwe, but ensuring that when our customers compare us to global best practice, that comparison is favourable to us.
In this regard, digitalisation of our processes has meant that we can offer products that are more relevant and available at a click or a tap. Paperless banking has ceased to be an ideal, but rather a mandatory element of providing service. We have many of our products available in the digital cyber sphere, down to our WhatsApp banking, where you can message your bank, give instructions and get service.
In ensuring that the Group is as progressive as it is and has been, I would like to pay tribute to our team that continues to work hard to ensure that our customers get the service they require and beyond. In some very challenging circumstances, Team ZB has been a shining light that shows that when we come together, nothing is impossible to us.
Celebrating our 70th Anniversary is a testament to our resilience yes, but it is also attributable to our phenomenal customers, who have partnered with us, trusting us to be part of their stories and lives. This is why we have dedicated this celebration to you, because as you’ve gone through life, we have been, and will continue to be THERE FOR THE JOURNEY. The journey of life is fulfilled with partners and friends by your side to uplift, support and assist in every way. In our small way, we have endeavoured to be that to you, as much as you have shared in our journey as a Group.
With you, our customers, Board, management and staff of ZB Financial Holdings Limited, we celebrate 70 years of Growth, Diversity and Innovation, committing to continue on this journey for the next 70 years and the 70 after that.
God bless Zimbabwe.
God bless ZB Financial Holdings Limited
And God bless you all.
Makorokoto. Amhlope. Congratulations.
I Thank You!