Zigama advised to consider turning a commercial bank

National Bank of Rwanda has advised shareholders of Zigama Credit and Saving Society (CSC) to turn the financial institution into a commercial bank.

National Bank of Rwanda has advised shareholders of Zigama Credit and Saving Society (CSC) to turn the financial institution into a commercial bank.

Francois Kanimba, the Governor the national bank said CSC has every thing it takes to be a fully fledged commercial bank. The cooperative has a strong asset base and is also profitable.

"They manage a lot of money. Their total balance sheet is about Frw30 billion. This can not be managed by a cooperative. It needs to be under a fully licensed commercial bank," Kanimba said on phone yesterday.

He added that when SCS goes commercial it will participate fully in the national electronic payment system.

Geoffrey Byegeka, the General Manger SCS however said they are yet to decide whether to venture into commercial bank services or not.

He was addressing the Zigama general assembly which sat at the head office in Kimuhurura, near the MTN around about yesterday.

The assembly was told that Zigama assets have grown from Frw22 billion in 2006 to Frw25 billion in 2007, a 21 per cent record increase.

This has positioned the Zigama as the leading in cooperative in the country.

Byegeka said the deposits have also increased to 10 per cent, from 15 billion in 2006 to Frw18 billion last year.

The shareholders in the cooperative include National Social Security Fund, Société Rwandaise D’assurances (SORAS) and Military Medical Insurance (MMI). They injected Frw1.48 billion to recapitalise Zigama.

The cooperative was finding problems in financing customers who ask for credit.

Today Zigama has 65,000 active accounts in the 14 branches countrywide. Some of the products offered the branches include NTUMA, a money transfer services at Frw345 to sent Frw5000 and $5 to send $100.

"These rates are flat compared to Western Union where $15.5 is paid to send $100," he said.

However the service is still limited to receiving money.

Another product is the solidarity fund. The society allocates Frw36 million per year to assist or protect deceased and disabled members.

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