Malawi Savings Bank (MSB) will introduce mobile banking services in 2012 to cater for people in the rural areas, Minister of Finance and Development Planning Ken Lipenga has said.
The Minister disclosed this in Parliament when he was responding to a question from Nkhata-Bay North West Member of Parliament (MP), Davie Kaweche.
The MP asked the minister to request MSB and Opportunity International Bank of Malawi (OIBM) to open branches at Mzenga Trading Centre.
Kaweche said the branches would assist civil servants to access their salaries easily following government’s regulation of paying them through banks. He added that the branches would also cater for the general public because there were many economic activities taking place in the area.
In response, the minister said when his ministry approached MSB, the bank said they had no plans to open a branch at Mzenga because they had just completed constructing another branch at Nkhata-Bay Boma.
“However, the bank said they would introduce mobile banking services in 2012 which will include Mzenga,” the minister said.
MSB’s Business Development and Marketing Manager, Dora Banda, confirmed the development to Malawi News Agency (Mana) in an interview Monday. She said the services will be introduced during the second quarter of 2012.
“We realize that there are some places where we may not physically put up buildings but there is demand for banking services. Those are the areas we will target in all the three regions,” she said.
In December 2010, government directed that effective February 1 this year (2011), payments such as salaries, allowances, leave grants and refunds to civil servants be made through banks. To that effect, it was mandatory for all civil servants to open bank accounts.
However, the development has created problems to civil servants in remote areas who have to travel long distances to access banks in major trading centres and towns, incurring travel costs among others, in the process.