At a time when bank acquisitions and mergers are becoming a trend in Rwanda, Bank of Kigali, a subsidiary of BK Group has said that they will not be acquiring any local player.
With an asset base of over $1billion, there was speculation that the Group would acquire a local lender.
Bank acquisition has become a trend following the revision of minimum capital requirements from the current Rwf5 billion to Rwf20 billion.
The bank’s officials say that as opposed to acquiring another lender, they will be investing in digital services and innovation to drive up financial inclusion and penetration in the local market.
Marc Holtzman, the Chairman of BK Group, said that there is room to deepen financial inclusion and bank penetration by finding ways to digitise operations further to be more relevant in the economy. Holtzman made the remarks when addressing the Group’s shareholders during an annual general meeting last week.
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The bank’s chief executive officer Diane Karusisi, said that, going forward, they plan on organically growing their business through the networks they have invested in and built over the years.
Karusisi, however, encouraged acquisitions saying that it was good for the development of the sector.
This includes the digital financial services which for instance, allows clients to acquire loans on their phones among others.
The bank is currently in the process of rolling out a Digital Transformation Roadmap to deliver new products and experiences, especially to underserved segments of the economy and key population demographics like the youth and the unbanked.
The digital platforms and services include driving uptake of debit and credit cards, use of our mobile applications, internet banking platforms among other digital platforms.
The development is also expected to improve service delivery as the financier will be able to deliver services more conveniently reducing queues at their branches.
To facilitate the process, the lender has decentralised the migratory services to all branches for clients’ convenience
The digital tools have also eased access to credit by clients of the bank as customers can now get quick loans without collateral on their mobile handsets.
For instance, the bank in May 2018 launched ‘SingombwaKashi’, (which loosely translates as ‘No need for cash’ in English) allowing customers to apply for and access loans rapidly and save money through auto/fixed saving and also digital transactions by E-banking online with a BK App.
The loan amount is up to Rwf500,000 with customers having a provision to choose a repayment period of their liking, ranging from one to six months.
The developments are part of the digital development of the bank led by Regis Rugemanshuro, who is Chief Digital Officer for bank.
Experts say that the decision not to acquire another lender but invest in digital services for penetration for the bank is a good move as it will add value to customer experiences.
Florence Gatome, Country Senior Partner, PricewaterhouseCoopers Rwanda Limited (PwC Rwanda), said that the decision will also mean more financial inclusion and options as well as reduced costs of transactions and services for customers as the bank is likely to innovate further and simplify banking services.
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