The New Finance bank (NFB) has become the first commercial bank in the country to reach to out to refugees at Dzaleka refugee camp in Dowa district.
The bank has opened a branch within the camp which was established in 1994. The banking services are expected to cater for over 30 000 refugees at the camp and other people of the surrounding communities.
New Finance Bank Chief Executive Officer, Zandie Shaba said her Bank has chosen to strengthen entrepreneurial progress and making broaden financial inclusion by offering a conveniently placed banking opportunity to people at the camp.
“The new banking facilities and the new branch offers displaced individuals access to simple banking products and functions like fixed deposits, savings and transactional accounts; access to an ATM, agency banking, money transfers and foreign exchange transactions.” Shaba said.
Shaba observed that majority of refugees world-wide are excluded from accessing formal banking facilities hence the new facility will open up to them to have banking services within their vicinity.
She added that this further offers access to lending products such as micro-lending, group loans and other that will further benefit the economic development of the community.
Shaba therefore revealed that NFB plans to open more branches and agencies this year in communities that are largely underserved by banking community and continue to work with local authorities to achieve financial inclusion.
Minister of Home Affairs and Internal Security, Cecilia Chazama congratulated NFB for the gesture and pledged government’s support towards banking developments through the Reserve Bank of Malawi.
“We are aware that most of the people of concern have relatives abroad who send them money. I therefore urge the New Finance Bank management to extend its services to cover all transaction needs for the people of concern,” said Chazama.
Located in the central region district of Dowa, some 50 kilometers north of capital city Lilongwe, Dzaleka refugee camp was opened in 1994.
It is home to over 35 000 refugees and asylum seekers mainly from war torn Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi, Rwanda, Somalia and Ethiopia.