The International Monetary Fund (IMF) Financial Access Survey (FAS) has reported an increase of commercial banks branches as measured by geographical presence in relation to population.
The figures show that bank branches per 1 000 square kilometers rose from 3.23 in 2014 to 3.28 in 2015.
Along with the development in geographical presence, automated teller machines per 100 000 adults also rose from 4.92 in 2014 to 5.07 last year.
The FAS, a source of global supply- side data on financial inclusion, encompasses internationally-comparable basic indicators of financial access and usage.
But while commercial bank penetration is rising, the central bank in the country is recording high numbers of complaints of poor service.
For example, the Reserve bank of Malawi (RBM) reported a 154 percent increase in consumer complaints between 2015 and the first half of this year about poor banking services. Among the complaints lodged between the period include automated teller machine (ATM) failures that lead to non disbursement of funds even when the account is debited, and general poor customer care.
In an interview, Bankers Association of Malawi (BAM) executive director Lyness Nkungula said banks are working towards addressing the challenges.
“We acknowledge that banks serve customers with different backgrounds, needs, and orientations as such, their levels of expectations also differ.
“Nevertheless, we treat customers’ complaints with absolute urgency because we believe these complaints help us improve our service delivery. But suffice to say the banks are tirelessly and seriously trying to keep the numbers of complaints as minimal as possible,” she said.
She said banks have in recent months made investments in IT infrastructure and managed to upgrade their respective core-banking systems to the latest versions with an aim to make banking easy.
“Apparently, banks are working so hard to make ATM failures a by-gone and the figures have significantly gone down,” she said.