By Scoop Reporter

THERE is a serious knowledge gap in personal financial management among members of the public that reduced their capacity to navigate the current economic climate, head of the workplace banking at Stanbic Bank Zambia, Chilombo Tembo, has said.

Ms. Tembo says it is for this reason that her bank wants to make personal finance education for its clients, one of its top priorities during the outbreak adding that financial wellness programmes had the potential to make participants more financially secure even in challenging times.

“We understand that these are challenging times for both businesses and individuals as many of them have had their revenue drastically reduced if not completely lost. Stanbic has stepped in for many businesses to help ease their financial stress by giving them loan repayment breaks or helping them refinance existing facilities. Our focus now is to extend this service to the individual.

“The goal is to equip our customers with the tools they need to take control of their finances and effectively navigate these difficult times.

“As a responsible lender, we have taken it upon ourselves to offer financial literacy through our Workplace Banking preposition at no cost to our clients and their employees so that they can manage their finances better while also making sure they know the true cost of debt,” Ms. Tembo said.

She says the bank has seen that a lot of people are over-borrowing as they desperately try to survive the harsh economy but that debt can be a source of a lot of stress particularly when one has overextended themselves by borrowing from different institutions.

She says as revenue streams slow because of the virus, repayments become increasingly difficult and that as Mercer’s study showed, stress among employees eventually affects the business’ bottom-line.

“One of the ways we help individuals who have over-borrowed is working with them to refinance or consolidate their debt under a single institution which makes it more manageable thus relieving some of the pressure,” she said.

She says it is important for individuals to treat themselves as a business in the way they dealt with their finances as this would make them more accountable in their spending because successful businesses are very deliberate on where their money goes.

“Whether you are on a salary or self-employed, if you treat yourself as a business, you will not waste money on unplanned spending sprees. To achieve financial stability, one must draw up a financial plan outlining where they are financially and where they want to be after a period.

“You need to take stock of your cash-flow and make sure it aligns with your money goals. If you cannot do this by yourself, you can find a mentor to help see you through. If you plan your finances and use your money prudently, you are less susceptible to sudden financial shocks like the type created by COVID-19,” he said.

She says while it is true that economies are slowly opening, the future remains uncertain.

“We do not know when things will return to the way they used to be. The only certainty we have is that Stanbic Bank Zambia will continue to engage our clients to make sure they have adequate relief from the stress created by the current climate,” she said.

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