Bank of Kigali is looking to facilitate more Rwandans living abroad to send money and invest back home through the revamped Diaspora Banking Offering, which was specifically redesigned to cater for their banking needs.
According to Dr. Diane Karusisi, the Chief Executive Officer of Bank of Kigali, the bank has established a fully dedicated team to cater for the needs of the members of the diaspora and new products have been added to the catalogue to ensure that Rwandans living abroad experience seamless financial services.
Through the BK Diaspora Banking Offering, the bank will be able to provide personalized banking solutions to members of the diaspora community who may want to save, invest or send money back home to support their families.
“We know that this past year and a half has been quite challenging for many families in Rwanda. So, we want to make it very easy and cheap for people who are in the diaspora to support families back home,” said Dr. Karusisi.
Beyond sending money, Bank of Kigali Diaspora Offering positions Rwanda as a destination for investment, something Rwandans in the diaspora can take advantage of and invest back home.
“We want Rwandans in the diaspora to know that they can invest and make money. If you have savings out there, you can transfer your money to Rwanda. There are investment instruments that will help them make money and build wealth in Rwanda, which we believe is important,” she added.
Among other offers, diaspora clients are able to fix dollars on the account and get a remuneration for it, they can also be able to invest in the stock market and buy treasury bonds with assistance from BK Capital, a subsidiary of BK Group.
“People can invest in capital markets and we have people who can advise them if they want to be BK shareholders, for instance. I can tell them this is a good investment,” Dr. Karusisi noted.
Most importantly, Bank of Kigali will allow Rwandans living abroad with existing current accounts with BK to migrate them to diaspora accounts. If one can show proof that they are diaspora clients from the nearest embassy, the account can be converted into a diaspora account and they get all the incentives that come with having one.
What is new?
The new offering includes account holders being able to have fixed term deposits in foreign currency, dollars in particular, which is what diaspora customers have been requesting.
They will also be able to access mortgage loans in USD and RWF at discounted rates, the bank has waived different types of fees such as account maintenance fees, incoming transfers fees (usually charged on transfers received from their accounts abroad) and withdrawal fees on FX accounts up to 5000 USD or equivalent.
In addition, Bank of Kigali has put in place a team that is in charge of communicating and managing diaspora account holders as VIP clients and if they are sending money in foreign currency they can negotiate the exchange rates for conversions.
Dr. Karusisi said that they are already getting good feedback from clients, who are interested in opening accounts as they explore different options to invest their money.
With markets around the world and Europe not offering good rates at the moment, members of the diaspora are better off investing back home and getting a good return on investment.
That is not all; diaspora clients can also apply for credit facilities with terms and conditions.
“We request for a couple of documents to look at your credit score and the viability of your future payment. If the credit committee is willing to give you a certain amount, we will be more than happy to provide the services,” said Dr. Karusisi.
With many construction projects for affordable housing and residential housing going on, BK is encouraging diaspora clients to take up the opportunity and invest in property.
“If you want to buy property in Rwanda, this is the right time. Approach the diaspora banking unit and inquire about the documents to be submitted. It is always a good time to own a property in Rwanda. If anyone can secure a plot of land or property, you can be assured that it is a very good investment,” she added.
What are the requirements?
Rwandans living abroad can visit the BK website, www.bk.rw , download, fill and sign the account opening form, get it notarized by the Rwandan Embassy and send it along with their National ID Copy and passport photo to [email protected].