One of Zimbabwe’s leading banks offering a wide range of financial services, CBZ Bank Limited, has gone through a long journey of growth marked by its genesis, turnaround and diversification until it reached its current position as the country’s largest bank by assets.
The bank came into existence at independence in 1980, then trading as the Bank of Credit and Commerce Zimbabwe Limited (BCCZ). The establishment was a joint venture between the Government and the Bank of Credit and Commerce International Holdings Limited (BCCH).
The bank’s turn of fortune came in 1991 with the Government coming to its rescue by acquiring total shareholding of the then struggling entity. The acquisition saved the bank from an inevitable collapse as the bank faced liquidation.
The development resulted in it being rebranded to the Commercial Bank of Zimbabwe (CBZ). 1995 saw the birth of a separate entity, CBZ Nominees Limited (CBZN) to accommodate non-performing loans which were disposed from the normal portfolio of advances. The establishment propelled growth through effecting efficient mobilisation of financial resources.
The financial services provider’s diversification really started in 1997 when the Government sold part of its shareholding in CBZ Bank Limited in another welcome gesture to capitalise the financial institution. The Amalgamated Bank of South Africa then entered an agreement to become the bank’s technical partner with 25 percent shareholding. An arm of the World Bank, the International Finance Corporation anchored the bank with 15 percent shareholding.
CBZ Bank then fully privatised in 1998 and was listed on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE), resulting in 55 percent of its shareholding being offloaded to the public. At the time, in terms of deposits the bank was the third largest in the country.
In 2004 the bank grew into a financial conglomerate, CBZ Holdings (CBZH) with vast client segments offering financial services. CBZ Bank Limited was now subsidiary to the holding company, CBZH.
The holding diversified to harness the property sector in 2006 with the birth of CBZH Properties. Optional Insurance Private Limited also came into existence then. Other member businesses to date include CBZ Life Insurance, CBZ General Insurance, and CBZ Asset Management (Datvest) among others.
Growth through acquisitions was pioneered in 2007 when Beverly Building Society was incorporated.
The holding company is currently owned through shareholding by various individuals and corporates among them Old mutual Life, Libyan Foreign Bank, National Social Security Authority (NSSA) and Stanbic among others.
Dr Blessing Mudavanhu is the group chief executive officer of CBZ Holdings.
CBZ Bank has been voted as Zimbabwe’ best-performing bank of 2018 by the United States-based Global Finance Magazine. Currently, the bank has an asset base of plus US$2 billion and deposit record of US$1,8 billion.