Rwanda: Kenya bank to be locally managed

 

Dr. James N. MwangiDr. James N. Mwangi

Equity Bank Rwanda will be driven and ran by Rwandans, according to the Group Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of the Equity Bank, Dr. James N. Mwangi.

He told the media yesterday, shortly after paying a courtesy call on President Paul Kagame, that the bank targets to create employment opportunities for Rwandans with the required skills.

A delegation of the Kenyan-based bank visited the Head of State at Village Urugwiro to brief him on the progress made since their entry into the Rwandan market three months ago.

“We have already created jobs for 178 Rwandans and we want Equity Bank Rwanda to be run by Rwandans who are trained and developed to take the bank to greater heights,” he asserted.

Mwangi observed that the financial institution has so far registered 30,000 customers since October last year and opened seven branches with three more to be opened in March.

“Equity bank intends to develop new financial products linked to rural banking and we want to partner with Umurenge Sacco as our banking agents to enable them become viable financial institutions,” he revealed.

The CEO mentioned that, his bank specialises in community based model which maximises banking services to the traditionally unbanked segment of the population.

Equity Bank Group has a total value base of US$2 billion; it has other branches in Uganda, South Sudan and Tanzania.

“We have already invested US$12 million in Rwanda in terms of initial capital, but we will push as much money as possible,” he pointed out.

Mwangi said tht the bank would boost lending to Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) through a new approach known as agency banking, a postal outlet contracted by a financial institution to process clients’ transactions.

They have installed electronic banking services that include 11 Automated Teller Machines and 200 points of sale.

According to Claver Gatete, the Governor of National Bank of Rwanda, Equity Bank comes with great technological initiatives that would almost reach everyone in the entire country.

“This bank really comes to add value to our banking system, and what were lacking are the extra resources, especially the bank’s long term lending basis. For instance, the bank lends across the board from big companies, SME’s and to very small micro finance institutions, which promotes economic development of our country,” he explained.

Gatete stated that the use of technology in the banking system, such as ATMs, mobile banking and points of sale, keeps money in the banking system that thereby increases lending to the population.

By Frank Kanyesigye, The New Times

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