In a move to deliver better services through the exploitation of Information Communication Technology (ICT), Banque Populaire du Rwanda (BPR) will introduce mobile banking next year, the bank’s top official said Monday.
Ben Kalkman, BPR’s CEO said that the new product will enable the bank’s clients to access banking and financial services with the help of mobile phone telecommunication devices.
He said this will enable BPR’s clients to transfer, send and receive money from different places around the world in partnership with telecommunication firms.
“Mobile banking is amongst our many products in the pipeline, we have also set our focus on debt recovery and commercial drive,” Kalkman revealed.
Last year BPR posted Rwf2 billion profits after tax which was all reinvested to upgrade the bank’s IT infrastructure and staff training.
The CEO fears the bank’s revenues are under pressure since it has accumulation too much bad debts on its balance sheet.
He said that internationally the percentage of bad debts is 5 percent of the total loan portfolio but on the local level the figures are alarming.
“Clients have a bad repayment mentality which is the main cause of lack of liquidity in the country,” Kalkman explained.
Currently the bank is in the process of harmonising all its 188 branches where so far 24 branches have been linked on one network.
“By 2011 of the branches will be fully connected and clients will be able to access their accounts everywhere in the country,” Kalkam said.
He attributed the delay to connect all the branches to lack of electricity and internet connectivity in most of the rural areas.
BPR is Rwanda’s largest bank by branch network and market share with Rwf5.8 billion worth of capital.
Netherlands based RABOBANK holds 65 percent of equity in BPR while the former cooperative members own 35 percent.
Last year BPR was transformed from a cooperative Bank into a commercial bank.