South Africa’s First National Bank (FNB), the retail banking unit of FirstRand Ltd, started operating in Zambia on Tuesday in line with its strategy to expand its footprint on the African continent.
FNB, which was granted an operating license in November 2008 by the Bank of Zambia, said it had opened three branches in the country, including one in the capital Lusaka and one in the Copperbelt area. It plans to open another two branches in 2010.
“Despite the current global economic climate, Zambia provides an investor friendly environment and is a low political risk country,” Michael Jordaan, FNB’s chief executive said in a statement.
“One of our key strategic focus areas is to deliver innovative banking services to all our customers in Africa by further expanding outside of South Africa.”
FNB will provide retail, business, commercial and corporate banking services in Zambia, Africa’s biggest copper producer.
The retail bank already operates in Namibia, Botswana, Swaziland, Lesotho and Mozambique, and said in January it was considering expanding into Tanzania, Angola, Uganda and Ghana.