Centenary Bank Pledges to Invade Rural Malawi
Newcomer in the Malawi banking sector Centenary Bank has promised to establish its presence in rural areas which are not fully utilising at the moment, offering microfinance services to communities there.
Centenary Group Chairperson Professor John Ddumba-Ssentamu said the bank will adopt an agile approach to operations taking customer centric propositions to allow it to create highly personalized solutions.
Professor Ssentamu, who was speaking at the official launch of the financial institution in Lilongwe, having completed all acquisition processes last year, said finance services have not penetrated Malawi.
He said Centenary Bank has for long been known for its services in microfinance which will be extended in Malawi with expertise.
“The focus of our bank in Uganda is the rural people with microfinance. By coincidence, there is nothing like microfinance in Malawi, so we are going to introduce that in Malawi. We have a sister company that will facilitate that in Malawi and reach out to many rural Malawians with banking services,” said Professor Ssentamu.
The Lilongwe Archdiocese, a joint shareholder in the bank, is upbeat it will uplift the lives of rural Malawians.
Bishop of the Diocese and Bishop's Chairperson for the Episcopal Conference of Malawi Archbishop George Desmond Tambala says the Centenary Bank will reach out to people in rural areas with its services.
“Most of the people that we are serving as a church are in rural areas. We cannot exclude them from the services that we will offer. We will borrow a leaf on how the bank has done that in Uganda where the rural masses rely on it,” said Archbishop Tambala
For Centenary Bank of Malawi Managing Director, Zandile Shaba, the launch of the bank signals a new beginning.
Shaba says several customers that have been loyal to the bank through thick and thin will enjoy the services of the rebranded bank.
Meanwhile, Reserve Bank of Malawi Deputy Governor William Matambo says Malawi needs more banks to reach out to a large population, especially in rural areas, as statistics indicate that very few have access which impacts on their growth economically.
“We have eight banks which I think do not reach out to many Malawians especially in rural areas. With the change of technology, it is time for banks to devise means that will help people in hard-to-reach areas access banking services,” said Matambo.
The Reserve Bank of Malawi licensed MyBucks Malawi on May 13, 2014 and started its operations on July 24 2015.
In December 2021, the bank’s parent company MyBucks S.A. was placed under bankruptcy, a development that prompted its sale here in Malawi.
In Uganda, Centenary Group owns, Centenary Rural Development Bank, Centenary Technology Services Limited and Centenary Foundation
It is one of Uganda’s leading commercial microfinance banks serving over 2.4 million customers, with an asset base of about $1.4 billion. The bank has 80 branches, 205 ATMs, over 5,800 agents and several digital channels, according to its official website.
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