Zimbabwe banking industry is still arguably only second to South Africa in terms of depth and skills in the region. The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) acts as the central bank. The interbank market consists of
the commercial and merchant banks, discount houses, finance houses, building societies and the People's Own savings Bank, a government owned institution. Also forming part of the financial system are asset management companies, pension funds, provident funds, corporate bodies and the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE). The government is the single largest borrower.
The banking industry has suffered in recent years from the shortage of foreign currency and the lack of viability for loans and advances in a hyperinflationary environment. The number of banking institutions has declined from 43 in 2003 to 28 in 2009 not including asset management companies and microfinance companies. Lines of credit are becoming available for businesses with the increased ability of businesses to transact in foreign currency. Recovery is expected in the medium to long term as the general economy improves. Most banks would welcome the extension of further lines of credit for their customers and strategic partnerships to recapitalise and expand operations.
The table below indicates the opportunity for investment in the banking industry on the back of the minimum capital requirements set by the RBZ. The banks have until 31 March 2010 to comply with the minimum requirements in hard currency. We envisage a consolidation within the sector as players seek to meet new capital requirements. This will make the sector very attractive.
International credit rating has been implemented through an internationally accredited credit rating agency, Global Credit Rating (GCR). The central bank is responsible for licensing and supervision of banking institutions and Non - Banking Financial Institutions (NBFIS). The central bank is answerable to the Minister of Finance, who has the power to give general direction on all policy issues and determines the budget of the central bank.