University of Malawi (Unima) vice-chancellor John Saka has advised bankers to adhere to ethics to safeguard the integrity of the country’s banking sector.
Saka made the call on Friday in Blantyre during the Institute of Bankers (IOB) in Malawi graduation ceremony.
IOB is a training arm of the Bankers Association of Malawi (BAM).
He said: “My plea to you is to avoid shortcuts in your respective workplaces. In as much as it is a shortcut to getting rich, the end result would not only affect you as an individual but also your relations.”
Saka, however, bemoaned low women participation, especially in the advanced banking studies.
“My appeal would be to ensure that we put in place deliberate policies that would ensure that more women are advancing their studies in banking,” he said.
Speaking later during the BAM annual dinner, former managing director of Nico Holdings Limited Felix Mlusu hit at bankers for the dwindling market share currently at 19 percent, a situation he said puts banking business at a less competitive edge.
He said, among other things, market relevance and interest rates spread—the difference between what the bank pays the depositor for keeping money in the bank and what the depositor pays the bank for borrowing—continues to hinder banks from attracting more customers.
He said: “Because of the fact that some of the products and services that banks are offering on the market are irrelevant, we see the emerging of village banks which have since made the banks irrelevant.
“The services these village banks are providing to their members, although they are in a way similar to what banks are offering, are satisfying their members because they are getting what they need.”
Mlusu also said poor customer service, lack of innovation and competition are affecting the commercial banks.
“There is also need to regulate the market by ensuring that regulation is used to facilitate development of the industry and not to stifle banks,” he said.
In his remarks, BAM first vice-president Andrew Mashanda, while acknowledging the role village banks are playing in the financial sector, said there is need for the village banks and mainstream banks to collaborate towards promoting financial inclusion.
“Village banks are responding to the need that exists in the specific sections of the community. It is, however, arguable that banks would become irrelevant,” he said.