Home Business & Tech Rwanda Army Bank Records Unusual Profits in Tough Sector

Rwanda Army Bank Records Unusual Profits in Tough Sector

by Magnus Mazimpaka
10:26 pm

Zigama CSS, a military bank in Rwanda is giving commercial banks a hard run after it announced, last week, that it had registered a net profit of Rwf4.6 billion ($6.5million) in 2014, representing a 32% increase from Rwf3.2 billion ($4.5 million) in 2013.

James Ndahiro, the bank’s chairman said the loan portfolio has grown from Rwf59.2 billion ($85 million) in 2012 to Rwf87 billion ($123 million).

He told the bank’s general assembly, held on April 2 at Ministry of Defense Headquarters, chaired by Defense Minister Gen, James Kabarebe that profits are even expected to grow higher by the end of 2015.

The assembly agreed the bank to slash interest rate from 15% to 10% or less and also approved the bank’s 2015 business plan valued at Rwf130 billion ($185 million).

Founded in 1997, with a military CEO, and a mission to improve the welfare of soldiers and their families, Zigama CSS’s assets have grown to about Rwf100 billion ($150 million) from Rwf10 billion ($14 million) in 2011. The bank now has 20 branches across the country and over 72,000 members.

In 2011, the central bank granted the bank a license to operate as commercial bank and immediately accepted membership to all members of the National Police Force and the National Correctional Services.

Despite the impressive performance, Army spokesperson, Brigadier General Joseph Nzabamwita, said the bank remains committed to its core mission which is to provide welfare to its members, which more important than the profit it makes.

The services including low cost mortgage packages, soft loans and personal investments to boost their household income.

Had it not been for Zigama SCC, Chief Inspector of Police (CIP) Olivier Karekezi, says, “I would not have managed to pay school fees for my children. In fact, now I can easily get Rwf5 million or more to invest in a business, but I don’t have the time to run it.”

During last week’s general assembly, among other things, the board discussed the possibility of opening up its services to the general public.

But Gen. Nzabamwita said there were serious concerns attached to the idea. “Indeed we could get more deposits, but that would divert us from our primary mission, which is to focus on the welfare of our members.”