Banque Populaire du Rwanda (BPR), a former cooperative bank registered a profit of Rwf2billion in the financial year 2008. “We made over Rwf2billion in the year 2008, this is quite a tremendous achievement after the huge loss of Rwf440million in the preceding year,” The Chief Executive Officer of Banque Populaire, Ben Kalkman said during an interview with Business Times.
With the support of this new partner, Rabobank the bank already achieved remarkable progress in its customer base, financial results and quality of operations.
“We have been working on the restructuring of the system, the system was manual but we acquired computers and there is a big change in our system operations,” Kalkman explained.
Rabobank is a Dutch bank, it acquired 35 per cent stake in BPR in June 2008. The bank provides management services and extensive technical support.
According Kalkman, the bank has a target of making the same amount in the financial year 2009. “We are targeting to hit at least the same target.
This year are expecting to invest much money in networking, IT, training staff which will make the cost to go up and the market is difficult now because there is no liquidity,” he added.
“We are still facing a challenge of upgrading the banking system of over 200 branches all over the country, this needs a lot of investments but we hope we will achieve our goals,” he added.
Kalkman also said that in the past nine month since Rabobank took over management, the bank has acquired a new system of book keeping.
“We are upgrading the system so that the bank has one operating system. Here a client can easily access his or her account wherever he or she is around the country,” Kalkman explained.
Kalkman also added that apart from the bank making the remarkable profits, also the bank’s customers increased from 633,283 in 2007 to 1 million and also after the capital provided by Rabobank, the bank’s capital ratio increased significantly to 17 per cent reflecting a solid financial institution.
With Rabobank’s financial support and its technical specialist, the bank has already registered a considerable progress and the bank is also planning to make substantial investments in areas of IT and Agri-financing in this financial year 2009 of which customer reach will be extended and improved.