After recording a decline in earnings last year, Fina Bank has embarked on a branch expansion strategy that seeks to boost its profitability this year.
The latest reports from the bank says that it recorded a Rwf 553 million profit for the trading period ending 2010, indicating a decline in earnings compared to the year 2010 when it earned Rwf 1.1 billion.
The bank’s management attributed the falling earnings to what it termed as a “challenging year”, but was optimistic that 2011 holds better recovery prospects.
“We are prepared for this new financial year where, we are set to open six new branches and add eight more ATMs into our network and with such new parameters put in place, we are optimistic to recover a business growth of over 20 percent.
However, I must say that with these challenges, we managed to register credible growth,” Fina Bank Managing Director Rao Bavalida told Business Times.
The bank says that during the period under review, it opened three new branches and increased its ATM machines to eight besides giving out 3,000 new ATM cards.
As part of its market capture efforts this year, the bank is saying that it has now eased loan requirements to enable small and medium enterprises to acquire loans for running and expanding their businesses.
The small and medium enterprise and corporate business manager at Fina Bank Lina Mukashyaka said that small and medium enterprises (SMEs) do not need financial statements, business plans and audit reports to access loans as was the case before.
Mukashyaka told Business Times this week that banks had previously regarded the small and medium enterprises as risky businesses and tended to shy away from offering them support.
“Since we are branded as an SME bank, particularly, our positioning that seeks to address financial challenges of lending to this sector, which many banks have neglected, we have made our loan request simple and translated processes into our local language”, adding that, “our new focus is based on business relationship management so our clients do not need business consultancy, as we do it for them,” she said.
Mukashyaka said that the bank had managed to attract at least 60 percent of the urban based SMEs as their clients, adding that the bank had now diversified by engaging in support to the agricultural sector, such as, extending lending to coffee and maize growers.
Bavalida believes that the bank’s new focus would go a long way in solving the challenges facing the SME sector. “Through our bank expansion programme especially those targeting rural areas, we seek to be part of the efforts aimed at revamping the agricultural sector.”