Name changes of banks in Zimbabwe are usually on account of two reasons: first, to reflect the name of new owners following an acquisition, or simply to rebrand and refresh the name in order to make a clean break with the past because sometimes names evoke bad memories and must be changed. Over the years several banks have changed names, a process that must comply with Section 22 (6) of the Banking Act [Chapter 24:20] which says “Whenever a banking institution has altered its name with the Registrar’s consent in terms of subsection (1), the Registrar shall cause notice of the alteration to be published, at the institution’s  expense, in the Gazette and in one or more issues of a newspaper circulating  in the area  in which the  institution carries on its banking  business.”

  • January 2014: Kingdom Bank Limited to AfrAsia Bank Limited

In January 2014, Kingdom Bank Limited changed its name to AfrAsia Bank Zimbabwe Limited following acquisition by Mauritius-based AfrAsia Holdings Limited.

  • June 2013: TN Bank Limited to Steward Bank Limited

Econet Wireless first acquired a 45% equity stake in TN Bank in July 2012 after injecting US$20 million and subsequently made an offer to shareholders in January 2013 that saw the mobile network operator shoring up its shareholding to a 98,6% controlling stake in the bank. At that stage, a name change was imminent. Unsurprisingly, at the end of June 2013, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe duly announced, in terms of Section 22 (6) of the Banking Act [Chapter 24:20] that TN Bank Limited had changed its name to Steward Bank Limited.

On 3 July 2013, Econet Wireless officially rebranded TN Bank to Steward Bank. Speaking at the official launch, newly appointed bank chief executive officer Kwanele Ngwenya said the name change was the first step of the rebranding journey and the name Steward was chosen because it reflected the bank’s values and commitment to its customers. “A steward denotes a custodian who grows and protects customers, resources, hence our promise, `your money, our commitment,’ “he said.  He said the bank’s main colour – purple – represented wealth, wisdom, dignity, royalty, independence, creativity and trustworthiness.

  • February 2013: ZABG Bank Limited to Allied Bank Limited

Following the collapse of the merger of three troubled banks – Trust Bank Corporation, Royal Bank Zimbabwe Limited and Barbican Bank Limited – in 2010, ZABG Bank continued to face challenges linked to capitalisation. A new anchor shareholder who could inject capital was sorely needed, and along came Trebo & Khays an Investment vehicle of the then Mines and Mining Development. Legacy issues and the restructuring of the bank’s shareholding was fertile ground for a name change. So in February 2013, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe authorised the ZABG Bank Limited to change its name to Allied Bank Limited.

“We realised that the current ZABG brand could not carry us and we have now gone out of our way to position ourselves to respond to the market expectations. The bank is now in a stronger position than before to negotiate more meaningful deals,” said chairman and lawyer Farai Mutamangira.

  • July 2012: ReNaissance Merchant Bank Limited to Capital Bank Corporation Limited

The conversion of the National Social Security Authority’s debt owed by ReNaissance Merchant Bank Limited into equity, allowed NSSA to effectively acquire a majority stake of 84% in the merchant bank previously owned by ReNaissance Financial Holdings Limited. Post this development, it was expected that the bank would change its name and this duly came about in July 2012 when the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe announced that “ReNaissance Merchant Bank Limited has changed its name to Capital Bank Corporation Limited and shall be known as such henceforth.”

  • May 2012: Metropolitan Bank Zimbabwe Limited to Metbank Limited.

In May 2012, Metropolitan Bank Zimbabwe Limited changed its name to Metbank Limited, a move that was said to be in sync with the bank’s revival at the time. The move also appeared to have been intended to shorten the name, one of the longest at the time. The name change was confirmed by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe in June 2012.

  • May 2011: Premier Banking Corporation Limited to Ecobank Zimbabwe Limited

Following acquisition of Premier Banking Corporations Limited by Pan-African Banking Group, Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (ETI), the bank started trading as Ecobank Zimbabwe Limited, with effect from 1st May, 2011