The New Times (Kigali)

7 August 2009

Rwanda: BPR in On-Line Harmonisation of Local Branches

Kigali — Banque Populaire du Rwanda (BPR) clients can now access their accounts from any of the local 25 branches across the country.

This was revealed by the bank's commercial administrator, Jean de Dieu Kampayana during an interview with the Business Times at the bank's stand at the Expo grounds in Gikondo.

According to Kampayana, BPR clients can now withdraw or deposit money from their 25 branches within seven provinces across the country. Formerly, a client could only access his or her account from only where he or she opened the account. This was because the financial institution lacked modern technology.

BPR, a former cooperative bank has over 150 branches across the country and Kampayana said that by end this year the bank's clients will be able to access their accounts in all the branches.

Kampayana also said that the bank has opened a savings account called "Hirwa" meaning being lucky. The new Hirwa savings account was designed to enable every Rwandan to save for a better future.

"The account has no age limit, no minimum opening amount required and a client are discouraged to make withdraws before six month because you earn no interest but after six month a client can earn 50 percent interest," Kampayana explained.

According to him, the specialty about the product is that after one year of savings, one can start earning interests as long as the account balance is Rwf 20,000 and above.

"The more you save, the higher your rate of interests. We are offering from 2 percent to 7 percent in interests," he added. With the introduction of the account, one can only start earning interests after 12 months. The beneficiary can also be discouraged from making withdrawals.

"Before 6 months are up you earn no interests but without having made any withdrawals, after the other 6 months you earn 50 percent the normal interests.," he said.

Bank Populaire whose main branch is under renovation is set to be in the same league with its competitors and much more. According to Kampayana, BPR is now on-line and already 25 branches are connected. "We are targeting to connect all the branches by the end of this year which is the same time we target to finish renovating our main branch for a better image," he emphasized.

Last year, the bank made a profit of Rwf2 billion and this year they have invested much money in networking, IT, training staff which will making the bank improving in their banking system.

BPR was bought by Rabobank, a Dutch bank which acquired 35 per cent stake in BPR in June 2008. The bank invested heavily and it provides management services and extensive technical support.

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