Village banks in Zomba have been asked to open accounts with commercial banks as one way of ensuring security of their savings.
Malawi Savings Bank (MSB) Zomba branch manager Justin Chikaonda made the call on Friday during an interface meeting between the village banks and financial lending institutions at Sakata Trading Centre, in the district.
He said much as communities have their own groups and keep money in their homes, the bank would like to intervene in the process.
“While these groups are lending each other money in their respective communities, we want to emphasise on security by encouraging them to save the remainder with the bank.
“We are telling them that whenever they need their money, they should come to the bank and withdraw the required amount without any interest deducted. We want them to know that the money saved at the bank generates interest which will be to their benefit,” said Chikaonda.
He said they have mobile banking facilities which go to the rural areas and the bank is prepared to do that with the area on agreed days.
Chikaonda added that the village banks have access to loans whenever they open Premium Savings Account with MSB whose security will be the account.
In her remarks, Women’s Legal Resource Centre (Wolrec) coordinator Magret Chilongozi said her organisation called for the meeting to provide a platform for both parties to voice out their concerns in as far as access to credit for women is concerned.
“One of our activities under this project is to give women from the impact area an opportunity to interact with the financial lending institutions. It is strongly believed that the meeting is the window for dialogue on access to soft credit facilities with lenient conditions and policies for these women whose financial capacities are generally weak,” she said.
Ibraham Louis from Kalino Village Bank said his group welcomed the idea, adding that the substantial amount being kept in the communities lacks security and does not generate interest.