DURBAN - The provision of an Ithala branch with ATM facility at Mooi River Mall to bring basic financial services closer to the people of the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands has been welcomed by residents who have had to travel as far as Pietermaritzburg for routine transactions.
Ithala SOC Limited, a pioneer in banking the unbanked in KZN, takes seriously its mandate to serve ordinary South Africans. The agency’s rural development strategy is aligned with government’s agenda to drive inclusive financial growth.
In its National Development Plan, the South African government challenged the financial sector to achieve financial inclusion of 70 percent in the country by 2013, with a target of 90 percent set for 2030.
"As a financial services provider, increasing access to basic banking services, particularly among poor and marginalised communities, is not negotiable. Until now, people have had to travel great lengths, and incur unnecessary expenses, to transact. Bringing financial services closer to people in remote areas of KZN is what we strive to do daily," said Shane Moodley, Ithala SOC Limited Head of Retail and Business Banking.
Ithala SOC Limited is the first financial institution to provide banking services to townships and rural areas of KZN. Ithala’s Manguzi branch in northern KZN was the first rural branch to be established.
"We fully support Ithala SOC Limited in the drive to expand their footprint, make banking services convenient, affordable and accessible and uplift ordinary South Africans," said Mooi Mpofana Municipality Mayor, Cllr Xolani Duma.
Duma added "In a show of good faith, all employees of the municipality will be encouraged to bank with Ithala and we will work hand-in-hand to enable the progress of people in the community".
Andile Ndlovu, Pick n Pay Store Manager, said, "It’s a big move for Ithala and exciting news for us as a community which has long been waiting for this service.
“Imagine having a bank account with no ATM facility and branch nearby and having to travel to Pietermaritzburg whenever we need bank services.”
Ndlovu said Ithala’s presence in the shopping centre was a boon for the locals - it will increase customer footfall and give rise to job and business opportunities at the centre.
The roll-out of additional ATM facilities in other parts of the province viz. Paulpietersburg and Mavundla, are on the horizon this year.
A distribution network of 39 Ithala branches in KZN provides convenient transacting facilities. Ithala offers a comprehensive portfolio of corporate and personal banking solutions.
BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE