Established in 1980 as the Bank of Credit and Commerce Zimbabwe Limited (BCCZ) that was a joint venture between the Government of Zimbabwe and the Bank of Credit and Commerce International Holdings Limited (BCCIH).
In 1991, the government of Zimbabwe saved the BCCZ from collapse by acquiring total shareholding in the Bank. BCCZ acquired a new identity as Commercial Bank of Zimbabwe (CBZ). The Bank’s new identity was augmented by the appointment of a new team of management whose mandate was to steer CBZ to growth and success. The first major turnaround occurred in May 1995 when a decision was taken to remove non performing loans from the normal portfolio of advances. These were placed under the separate entity, Commercial Bank of Zimbabwe Nominees Limited (CBZN). This strategy allowed the more efficient mobilisation of financial resources and enabled greater focus on critical issues of banking business and rehabilitation of all delinquent advances.
CBZ’s diversification drive started in 1997 when the Zimbabwean Government sold its shareholding in the Bank in a bid to adequately capitalise it. An agreement was reached with the Amalgamated Banks of South Africa (ABSA) to become the Bank’s technical partner. ABSA took up 25% in shareholding.
Apart from ABSA, the International Finance Corporation, an arm of the Word Bank, acquired a further 15% of equity. Nonetheless, the greater part of CBZ shares (55%) were issued to the public when the Bank fully privatised and was listed on Zimbabwe Stock Exchange on 29 June 1998.
By then the Bank had become the third largest in Zimbabwe in terms of deposits. It has also diversified its financial services range with the most significant addition being the establishment of the Microfinance Unit to support small to medium sized business enterprises.
Growth Through Diversification
In 2004 a new vision was adopted. This refocus propelled the establishment of CBZ Holdings (CBZH) as an entity poised to provide all client segments with a one-stop shopping experience for financial services. When CBZ Holdings Limited was operationalised in June 2005, period of intense growth through diversification began.
The Bank became a subsidiary of the holding company and was renamed CBZ Bank Limited. CBZ Asset Management (Private) Limited trading as Datvest was incorporated under the CBZ Group following the acquisition of its entire issued share capital in June 2005.
Adding to its interests in commercial banking and asset management, CBZH then ventured into the property sector in 2006 by registering and launching another subsidiary, CBZ Properties (Private) Limited. In 2006 CBZ Holdings, in partnership with other investors also set up a short term insurance company, Optimal Insurance (Private) Limited, which began operations in July of the same year.
CBZ Holdings continued in its concerted efforts to seek and obtain opportunities to extend the Group’s national footprint. In January 2007, the CBZ Group issued an announcement to shareholders advising of its complete acquisition of Beverly Building Society. Notably, this development made mortgage financing facilities available to clients of the Group and enhanced business synergies. In addition, there was a marked increment of value for shareholders.
CBZ Holdings’ track record has been achieved through a combination of organic growth, acquisitions, innovation and creating extra sources of revenue through the start-up and development of completely new businesses such as CBZ Securities, CBZ Properties and CBZ Life.
In 2010 CBZ Holdings started an operational integration process that has resulted in the consolidation of the Bank and the Building Society resulting in the Bank Offering a one-stop shop facility to its clients. This means that the Group now offers Banking and home financing products and services available under one roof. Operationally, this consolidation means that there are no free-standing CBZ Building Society branches. Instead, the services previously offered through these branches are now available at the nearest CBZ Bank branch, to which Building Society clients were migrated.
Mortgage Finance and other products previously offered through CBZ Building Society are now part of CBZ Bank’s range of products bringing cost saving for both the group and its clients. .
The consolidation also means that a platform has now been created for product development innovation, which means finding more ways to make banking an even more enjoyable experience for clients.