A NEW community bank under the Eastern and Coastal Diocese of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Tanzania is opening up for business in Dar es Salaam on Monday.
Assistant to the Bishop of the Eastern and Coastal Diocese of the church George Fupe said in Dar es Salaam yesterday that the bank to be known as Maendeleo Bank Limited would open today for normal banking operations but the formal launching of the bank would be held at a later date.
"It is a soft opening but the board of the bank is currently preparing a grand launch of the bank to be held later this year," Mr Fupe, also the Dean of the Azania Lutheran Cathedral, told the 'Daily News' in an interview.
He said the church had obtained licence by the Bank of Tanzania to open the bank, with two months given to top up capital. Maendeleo Bank Limited would cater for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) with particular focus on provision of soft loans.
"Our focus is small and medium enterprises and particularly the low income people. It is the bank of the low income earners whom it focuses to help with soft loans," he said.
The banks opens with 3.5bn/- capital and expects to raise it to 4bn/- in two-month period, said Mr Fupe, adding that the bank's main shareholders were members of the congregations under the ELCT Eastern and Coastal Diocese whom had an opportunity to buy shares of the bank at 500/- each.
He said the minimum number of shares allowed were 100 at 50,000/- and the maximum number would be 400,000 at 200m/-.
The doors were still open for all people regardless of their religious affiliations to buy shares of the bank at the initial offered price, he said: "The doors are open for all people, Christians from all denominations and Muslims as well to buy shares of the bank at the same price."