Launching the bank’s fourth branch in the bustling Kariakoo market in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania Episcopal Conference (TEC) Vice-President Severine Niwemugizi said, “Commercial banks have always snubbed the poor…Mkombozi bank should operate uniquely through favouring the poor regardless of their colour, race or religious ideologies.”
The Rulenge Diocese Bishop defended the church’s banking business, saying the Catholic Church was involved in many social and economic projects that require not just money but clean money. “The church’s education, health and agricultural projects involve financial transactions that require handling by credible commercial banks,” said Bishop Niwemugizi.
The bank’s Managing Director, Edwina Lupembe, said the three-year old bank has registered great successes within short period of operations, with its assets growing from 7.4bn/- in 2009 to 39bn/- as of August 28, 2012.
She said customers’ deposits have increased from 1.3bn/- in 2009 to 26.8bn/- as of August 28, 2012 while loan portfolio reached 14.5bn/- during the period. The bank’s investment in government securities and other banks are 7.2bn/- and 10bn/-, respectively.
Ms Lupembe invited all Tanzanians to use the bank, which she said operates without any religious ideology. “This is the bank for all Tanzanians with no discrimination of colour, tribe or religion.”Mkombozi bank, she said has already joined Umoja Switch, an automated teller machine (ATM) network that brings together 22 banks, sharing same ATM system and allowing customers to access their accounts allover the country.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, Father Anthony Makunde, one of the bank’s board members, said it was high time Tanzanians dared to innovate, start and manage business projects in and outside the country to tap the available opportunities.
Kariakoo becomes the bank’s fourth branch, with plans to open branches in each of the country’s 22 regions. Efforts are being made to increase capital and open four new branches by 2015. The other branches are St Joseph and Msimbazi centre in Dar es Salaam as well as Mwanza.