The Bankers Association of Malawi (BAM) was founded in 1997 and is the trade association of nine commercial banks and one discount house licensed under the Banking Act 1989 as repealed by the Banking Act 2010. Its main objective is to coordinate the efforts of the banking industry, and to share a common vision of progress and development with its members. BAM aims at promotion, protection, representation and development of the professional and business interests of its member banks.
The Association currently consists of ten members that are all engaged in the provision of banking facilities and other financial services in Malawi. The current members include; First Merchant Bank, NBS Bank, National Bank of Malawi, Standard Bank, Ecobank, Nedbank, New Finance Bank, CDH Investment Bank, FDH Bank and First Discount House.
BAM aspires to reinforce a reputable and professional banking sector in a bid to best support Malawians, who entrust their ambitions and valued resources with its member banks. In the 21 years of its existence, the Bankers Association of Malawi has played a crucial role in the following activities championing financial sector development through strategic projects;
- Year 2001: Supported the Endorsement of the Malawi National Payment Systems Vision and Strategy Framework in conjunction with RBM and The National Payments Council (NPC).
- Year 2002: Establishment of Institute of Bankers in Malawi, to enhance the level of professional competence and skills within the banking industry.
- Year 2005: Effectively managed the electronic cheque clearing house (ECCH) project which was later formed into a company. The company has been preceded by the implementation of Automated Transfer System.
- Year 2010: Managed the Introduction of the National Switch system for all the member banks which will promote the financial inclusion agenda. National Switch (Natswitch) offers a common shared technology platform for interoperability of retail payment systems and promotion of digital payment systems in Malawi.
The Bankers Association of Malawi undertakes projects aimed at improving the business operating environment for its members to improve the delivery of services to their clients. All these activities are solely financed through contributions from its member banks. BAM has attained growth and, in the process, registered a number of achievements, some of which include:
- Provides its members with regular updates from the Reserve Bank of Malawi through quarterly meeting
- Has strengthened the voice for banks in tackling of regulatory issues, including lobbying not to introduce VAT on banking services
- Together with Reserve Bank of Malawi, the banks have brought technology (modernizing payment system) into the banking industry for the benefit of all members.