Getting the Bank to the People

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By Staff Reporter WINDHOEK Standard Bank of Namibia has attracted over 116 000 clients as of the end of May 2006 with the introduction of its E Plan account some four years ago. The bank was the first one to launch products for the lower income market in 2002 after research revealed that as many as 45 percent of the Namibian population was unbanked. SBN’s Manger: Public Relations and Communications, Carmen Maartens, said in a statement yesterday, that since the introduction of the product in April 2002, it had attracted many active E Plan account holders and numbers were still growing. “After extensive research, Standard Bank as far as 2001/2002 already, became aware of the fact that 45 percent of the Namibian population was unbanked and this posed a great opportunity for the bank to offer a product to cater for this particular need in the market,” Maartens said. To qualify for this product, clients only need to have an income of N$250 per month. The minimum deposit is N$50 and other requirements being an ID or another form of identification. What makes the E Plan account significant according to Maartens, is that it is a single account with tran-sactional and a savings pocket. The transactional pocket is for day-to-day money management, which enables a client to deposit their income into the account by making deposits and withdrawals. They can also use the card as a debit card for paying goods and services, wherever a Maestro sign is displayed. The savings pocket makes it easier for a client to save without having a separate account. “The savings pocket enables the client to transfer money from the transactional pocket into the savings pocket whenever it suits them or arrange for a set amount to be transferred into the savings pocket regularly”, she added. In addition to this, the E Plan card can be used in any African country as well as internationally where the Maestro sign is displayed and where the Saswitch link exists. E Plan account holders qualify for a free life cover to the value of N$2700. Many E Plan account holders already have funeral covers but the bank has put this amount at no additional cost at all to the client. Clients that keep a minimum of N$250 or more in their account for six consecutive months also qualify for a bonus interest in additional to normal interest. Standard Bank has 110 Autobanks, 22 branches and service centres countrywide.