Redefining Banking Solutions for Economic Growth

Zambia Industrial Commercial Bank is pioneering digital banking solutions to bridge the financial inclusion gap and foster local wealth creation in Zambia.

Having opened to the public in 2018, Zambia Industrial Commercial Bank (ZICB) is a leading commercial bank in Zambia and is regulated by the Bank of Zambia. The principal mission of ZICB is to support the commercialisation and industrialisation of the Zambian economy, and in pursuit of this goal, the bank operates under the business philosophy of “making tomorrow possible.” CEO Ignatius Mwanza credits the bank’s success to its common goal. “Our mission is to support local wealth creation by driving the growth of local MSMEs and local corporate businesses,” says Mwanza.

ZICB’S vision is to become the preferred bank in its chosen segments by supporting the growth of its customers and the economy. To realise this growth, facilitating financial inclusion is key. In an increasingly digital world, ZICB’s first step was to be a digital bank from its inception. “ Being digital allows us to offer convenient banking services to our customers,” explains Mwanza. “ During our first three years of operations, ZICB only had three physical branches, yet we were able to service customers from Zambia’s ten provinces.” Other banking initiatives realised by ZICB include easier access to financing/credit compared to conventional banks. Mwanza says, “We have a higher risk appetite towards MSMEs and local corporate businesses. Being a digital bank that offers easier access to credit allows us to bridge the financial inclusion gap.”

ZICB offers a full suite of commercial banking products and services to both retail and corporate customers, including transactional accounts, fixed deposit accounts, various types of loans and overdrafts, as well as digital banking payment solutions.

Some of ZICB’s digital solutions include SmartPay, which corporate customers and individuals can use to pay for their regulatory obligations, including customs and domestic taxes, national health insurance payments, and national pension scheme payments. The Bank offers Host-to-Host Integrations with customers for seamless transaction processing from the customer’s host system. Its Corporate Internet Banking allows for bill payments, and single and bulk transfers to mobile wallets and local bank accounts while its Retail Internet Banking supports biometric authentication, remote account opening, account and mobile transfers, and bill payments. ZICB is a participant on the Government Service Bus meaning that all services available on the GSB can be paid for through the ZICB App. Mwanza states, “Our innovative digital banking solutions are changing the payments landscape in Zambia.”

Through a human-centred approach to banking, ZICB is providing finance to different local business projects that build awareness around climate change and empowers citizens to make meaningful behavioural changes that are beneficial to the environment. Mwanza explains, “Based on our strategic target customer segments, ZICB is exploring nature-based solutions, such as agroforestry, that help sequester carbon dioxide in trees. We are working with farmers, who are not just beneficiaries but providers of the ecosystem on which we all depend.” Addressing climate change is among the most urgent and complex challenges today and will require a significant level of effort and investment commitment at every level of society. With the creation of the Carbon Finance business line, ZICB will extend its ability to offer corporate and MSME customers products that will help them manage their voluntary commitments related to climate change.

ZICB strives to be a good corporate citizen in all its operations. Through its CSR strategy, ZICB focuses on supporting the vulnerable in communities in the areas of health, education, entrepreneurship development, and environmental protection. In fact, the bank recently donated 130,000 Kwacha (US$6,500) towards a children’s financial literacy program. “Our Financial Literacy Programme, in partnership with Zed Kidprenuer, offers mentorship to children aged 18 years and below from all walks of life,” explains Mwanza. “The programme is centred on developing positive entrepreneurial mindsets that are not only financially literate and financially disciplined, but also innovative and inquisitive.”