Commercial banks can do more to grow the economy

Rwandans have of recent shown appetite to diversify their investments away from the traditional over the counter business models. As shown by the rush to get a bit of the government Treasury Bond, it is an indication that business people have deep trust in the government by being ready to entrust it with their savings, even if their returns will mature after three years. In these times of economic uncertainties, dishing out over Rwf 12 billion to purchase bonds is a vote of confidence on our financial institutions.

Rwandans have of recent shown appetite to diversify their investments away from the traditional over the counter business models.

As shown by the rush to get a bit of the government Treasury Bond, it is an indication that business people have deep trust in the government by being ready to entrust it with their savings, even if their returns will mature after three years.

In these times of economic uncertainties, dishing out over Rwf 12 billion to purchase bonds is a vote of confidence on our financial institutions.

Banks should therefore reciprocate this trust by opening new financial avenues to local investors; and they can begin by getting rid of unnecessary bottlenecks and red tape. 

Access to long term credit is one area that has dogged bank clients. For the lucky ones, who succeed in getting credit, the interest rates are prohibitive if not punishing. 

The central bank has been periodically reducing the Repo rate (the rate at which it lends to commercial banks) in order to encourage them to lend to the private sector at more “saner” rates but commercial banks are yet to respond favourably.

Banks should play a more active role in driving this economy forward if they regarded borrowers as partners and not poor relatives experiencing lean times. This win-win relationship will only grow if the banks’ pursuit for profits is equaled by their social responsibility.

 

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