Opportunity Bank of Malawi, popularly known as ‘Banki Yanga’ this week took yet another milestone in its quest to serve the financially excluded population when it launched Agency Banking at a colourful function held at Sunbird Capital on Wednesday (September 17, 2014) evening.
Through the new initiative, known as Banki Mkhonde in vernacular, the bank’s customers will now be able to cash and withdraw money using the bank’s agents spread across the country.
Addressing clients, business partners and other stakeholders at a cocktail reception marking the launch, Opportunity Bank’s Chief Operating Officer Wilson Moleni said the bank decided to introduce Agency Banking in order to address some of the challenges the bank’s rural based customers were facing to access banking services.
“Despite the presence of our 47 branches and 26 ATMs in the country, there are still some rural and sub urban areas that are away from these facilities. We have recruited over 200 agents based in major trading centres across the country. Through these agents, customers will be able to deposit and withdraw money using Banki M’manja and ATM cards within their locality with as little as K150 on every transaction.
“The service is not only going to reduce the distance customers travel to the bank but also help them save time and money used when traveling,” said Moleni.
Director of Risk and Strategy at Reserve Bank of Malawi (RBM) William Matambo, who was guest of honour at the launch applauded Opportunity Bank for the initiative, which he said was in line with Opportunity Bank’s vision of reaching out to the low income and underserved in terms of banking facilities.
“You are all aware that government has a priority agenda of financial inclusion. As a regulator of financial institutions, we at Reserve Bank of Malawi applaud Opportunity Bank Malawi for taking part in ensuring Malawians are given access to savings through the channel being launched tonight.
“With the use of local merchants and private agencies in the rural areas, OBM will contribute tremendously to financial inclusion by providing convenient low cost banking to the under privileged,” said Matambo, who is also chairman for Economists Association of Malawi