Sometimes one does not need to wait for the newspapers to report a story, or to listen to the news on radio or even watch it on TV. Sometimes the news is there for all to see and know. By the time it is officially announced it is not that much of a surprise anymore.
Take the example of Kenya’s Equity Bank roll out of its services in the Rwandan market.
The bank received a licence to operate in Rwanda about a year ago. And since then, business pages have occasionally talked about the impact the bank would have on the economy of Rwanda and the banking scene in particular.
Sometime last year, I found myself sitting in a Kampala Coach bus that had more than 30 Rwandans heading to Nairobi for training courtesy of Equity Bank. I later saw a branch of Equity Bank in Rubavu.
Another branch in Nyabugogo has been visible since this year started. The main branch located on the new skyscraper next to Ecobank was opened the other day also. So it is official that Equity Bank is here and the expectation is that it will certainly impact on the banking scene in a positive way.
The banking sector in this country has grown in leaps and bounds in the recent years.
The entry of regional African banking giants like Ecobank, KCB, and FINA Bank among
others has contributed a lot to diversifying the banking options that Rwandans now have.
The competition should go a long away in further increasing the access to banking services especially the so called ‘unbanked’ people. The ones who still find it better to keep their money under the bed, in pots and all sorts of hiding places they can think of.
With more money heading to the banks, the economy is in a better position to grow since those with intentions to do productive things can approach the banks for loans. In other words money is easily put to better use when it is kept in banks as compared to under the bed.
Banks therefore have to step up their game to remain competitive by reducing all bottlenecks that come with using of their services.
Many times, you read of people complaining about different banks on social media. In many banks, the queues are simply nauseating with the tellers spending about 10 minutes to serve each person.
It is common also to find a banking hall with about ten teller booths but only three or two people attending to customers. If you bother to find out you are told that others are out for lunch and in some cases you are told that they are off to school (evening classes at the university).
Other banks now have ATMs but most of these are still stationed at the bank branches and so do not serve to extend banking services to more people.
The machines also do not perform certain functions like taking deposits as is the case in other countries.
With a new player joining the fray, banking services in Rwanda should clearly improve to make life easier for the common person.
The poor customer relations and mediocrity should not be tolerated as clients move to those banks that respect them.