Members of Zigama Credit and Savings Scheme have called on its board to reduce the rate at which clients borrow money from the bank to allow them access more credit and improve their lives.
Members of the military saving scheme, which was granted a commercial bank status last year, say low borrowing rates would also facilitate the bank to attract and retain more clients.
“We are a bank and we need to make profits to increase our loan portfolio, but again it is our priority if it means to improve lives,” Dr.James Ndahiro the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Zigama said, giving a signal that the bank could possibly lower the rates.
Ndahiro said the core objective of the saving scheme is to improve the welfare of young and lower cadres in army and thus promised that a study will be conducted to see the possibilities of lowering the rates.
Moreover they will first consult the sector regulator, the central bank.
“We work under regulations we can’t just decide to lower the interest rates, we will consult the National Bank of Rwanda, our regulator,” said Joseph Nzamwita the army spokesperson.
Currently borrowers pay to the scheme 13.5 percent as interest rate on loans.
According to the lender’s financial statements which were released last week at it the General Assembly, Zigama’s assets grew to Rwf76.573 billion at the end of last year, up from Rwf53.894 billion in 2010.
The bank’s profit slid by 20 per cent to Rwf2.4 billion owing the increase in operating costs after the purchase of a new building worth Rwf7 billion.
Zigama says it is challenged by low deposits which currently stand at Rwf24 billion last year making it difficult to finance its loan portfolio of Rwf52 billion. The bank targets to raise Rwf50 billion in deposits.
The Bank seeks to mobilize more deposits through a sensitisation campaign to recruit more members as well as retaining the old members.
In a similar way to increase deposit, Zigama introduced a mandatory savings of 10 percent to soldiers going to mission that would also help them save.
It is said that 75 percent of loans went into housing industry as soldiers are not required to provide any security.
Zigama also intends to sign a deal with swift international to allow members have international money transfer a move that is expected to increase liquidity in the bank.
The credit and saving scheme employs 150 people in its 16 branches across the country with all RDF members, Rwanda correction services, Police and demobilized soldiers being members.