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Unguka eyes commercial bank status

Published on: 17-12-2012 - at: 10:43'

Barely weeks after Unguka Microfinance Institution was licensed to operate as a microfinance bank, it has now set its sights on becoming a fully fledged commercial bank.

The central bank upgraded Unguka to a microfinance bank status last month after it surpassed the required Rwf1.5 billion minimum investment capital to set up a microfinance bank

National Bank of Rwanda Vice Governor, Monique Nsanzabaganwa (L) cuts a ribbon after Unguka was handed a licence to operate as a microfinance bank.
National Bank of Rwanda Vice Governor, Monique Nsanzabaganwa (L) cuts a ribbon after Unguka was handed a licence to operate as a microfinance bank.

A microfinance institution requires a minimum capital investment of Rwf100 million to be allowed to conduct business.

Speaking to Business Times recently during an event to celebrate the bank’s achievements and its new status, Unguka’s chairman of the board of directors, Joseph Zirimwabagabo, said that the bank targets to become a fully fledged commercial bank by 2015.

“After becoming a microfinance bank, Unguka is now in a position to deploy a wider range of product offerings. This will allow the bank to expand to rural areas which is a major milestone in the bank’s strategy,” he said.

National Bank of Rwanda Vice Governor, Monique Nsanzabaganwa (L) and Unguka's chairman of the board of directors, Joseph Zirimwabagabo (R).
National Bank of Rwanda Vice Governor, Monique Nsanzabaganwa (L) and Unguka’s chairman of the board of directors, Joseph Zirimwabagabo (R).

Zirimwabagabo observed that Unguka started with initial capital of Rwf321.1 million in 2005 but currently has an outstanding portfolio of Rwf2.8 billion.

“For the next four to five years, our bank targets to open up four additional braches every year as well as additional service counters,” he noted.

The bank now operates eight braches and six satellite offices covering part of the northern and western provinces as well as Kigali.

Unguka Bank Limited was created as a local initiative in 2005 after its 214 shareholders agreed to raise the initial capital of Rwf321.1 million.

Speaking at the event, the Vice Governor National Bank of Rwanda, Monique Nsazabaganwa, said Unguka was licensed to become a bank because it had fulfilled all the necessary requirements.

“Unguka requested to become a bank and we granted their request because the institution showed steady growth with an outstanding portfolio and increasing number of clients,” she said.

However, Nsazabaganwa urged the bank to embrace the use of ICT to efficiently transact its business with ease.

“If you keep this momentum of growth, you will become a fully fledged commercial bank in the near future,” she noted.

By The New Times.

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