MEDF, OBM introduce new loan paying scheme

Malawi Enterprise Development Fund (MEDF), formerly known as Mardef  and Opportunity Bank Malawi (OBM) have launched a new initiative that will enable MEDF clients to service loans through OBM’s agents or mobile van.

The launch of the initiative, known as New Partnership for Financial Inclusion took place Tuesday evening at Crossroads Hotel in Lilongwe where `MEDF also announced some new changes to the organisation’s structure and operating procedures.

Done deal, MEDF CEO Joseph Mononga and OBM Chief Operating Officer Wilson Moleni exchange copies of the Mou

Done deal, MEDF CEO Joseph Mononga and OBM Chief Operating Officer Wilson Moleni exchange copies of the Mou

OBM's Mike Chiwaya explaining how the device for cash depositing or withdrawing works

OBM’s Mike Chiwaya explaining how the device for cash depositing or withdrawing works

“It is common knowledge that microfinance operations are very costly as evidenced by high interest rates that are passed on to clients. In an effort to keep operational costs to a minimum and remain financially afloat, most microfinance institutions concentrate in
urban areas and other easy to reach places, shunning remote areas.

“Today, our company has forged this partnership for financial inclusion with Opportunity Bank Malawi to make the financial inclusion dream a reality. This partnership is another innovative way of bringing financial services closer to the people,” said MEDF’s chief
executive officer Joseph Mononga during the launch.

Outlining the advantages of the new partnership, Mononga said there would be reduced cost of travel for both MEDF’s clients and the company whose officers travel to collect money from clients using various forms of transport.

He also said the risks of moving with cash unguarded for both MEDF officers and clients would be greatly reduced.

The MEDF boss also took advantage of the occasion to inform the gathering of some structural and operational changes at his organization, which he said has evolved from Malawi Government micro finance project known as Malawi Rural Development Fund (Mardef) to become a company limited called Malawi Enterprise Development Fund.

He disclosed the new company will be officially launched at a date and venue to be announced soon.

Taking his turn, OBM’s chief operating officer Wilson Moleni said his bank believes that strategic alliances are key to the growth of businesses in the world.

“Opportunity Bank has 34 physical branches, 14 mobile vans, 10 sales offices, 32 ATMs and 73 Banki Mkhonde cash points (agents) across the country, making it the bank with the highest number of access points in the country. The presence of multiple access points does not only create convenience to MEDF clients but also reduce the distance these clients were traveling to make deposits for loan repayment.

“It is also important to highlight that the bank stands to gain in terms of growth of its deposit base through this partnership,” said Moleni.

Amongst the dignitaries that attended the launch was Principal Secretary for Youth, Sports and Culture Justin Saidi and his Education counterpart MacPhail Magwira.

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