Bankers Association of Malawi (BAM) on took some time to share success stories which, it claimed needed recognition.
Speaking in Blantyre during the 2018 Bankers Annual Dinner and Dance, Barn President, Paul Gina, said the banking sector in Malawi has for a long time remained the unsung hero when it comes to the contribution it makes towards the progressive growth of the economy.
Among other things, Gina said, while the sector has been buttered at times with strong aggression, for the apparent slow or no response to downward changes to the bank or policy rates of the Monetary Policy Committee to the contrary,
data from 2013 to 2018 suggests that while the policy rate has reduced by 1,100 points, the average lending rates in the banking sector have reduced by 1,800 basis points which is a good 700 basis points more than what the policy rate has achieved.
“It is, therefore, clear that we have a real task ahead of us to drum up our own successes and positive strides as these stats demonstrate that our sector has not just been responsive to the cuts in interest rates but, actually, gone beyond the regulators and Monetary Policy Committee’s expectations.
“This, therefore, poses the question on where are these negative perceptions coming from?" Quizzed Guta.
He added that a recent report on the ease of doing business on the globe has ranked the Malawi banking sector on position six out of 190 countries surveyed.
“Amid a long list of items where Malawi has not fared well and mostly featuring at the bottom of the list, this achievement by our banking sector deserves first page space in our local media
“But because it didn't, today is our time to applaud ourselves for putting Malawi on the map in such a positive way,” he said.
Guta was, however, quick to note that a number of challenges continue to stand in the way bankers.
He cited cyber crirne, the threat of market disruption from fin-techs as well as the impact and future of crypto currencies such as bit-coins as some of the challenges threatening the future of banking,
The dinner and dance saw Institute of Bankers (IOB) Malawi recognizing six outstanding banking students. The six are Austin Chamakanda, Nohaha Chigada, Rahim Mtenje, Joana Somanje, Chifundo Bauleni and Rosana Sikakonda.
Malawi Microfinance Network (MAMN) chairperson, Corrie Mulder, who was the guest of honour during the event, said banks and microfinance institutions have built an unbreakable bond of collaborative working with government, development partners and RBM.
Mulder urged the bankers to come up with ways to boost their lending to the agriculture sector, which is the mainstay of the local economy.
IOB chairperson, Eric Ouattara, said the institute was established to narrow the skills gap in the financial industry through administering of bankers’ examination and skills training.
Ouattara said IOB Malawi is in the process of legislating the institute, adding that the institute would soon have a law that will govern its operations.
“We urge all those that do not have a qualification in banking to do so because I surely believe that certain positions in the industry will only be held by the bankers. So, start asking yourself as who you are and define yourself appropriately,” Ouattara said.
By Taonga Sabola - The Daily Times