NBS Bank Chief Treasury and Global Markets Officer, Benedicto Bena Nkhoma, has announced the bank’s digital initiative named Bank Pafupi, which enables the country’s unbanked rural demographic to sustain and secure their savings and investments.
During the launch of Bank Pafupi in 2014, it was said that the initiative was a study that was conducted by Finscope in 2009, which revealed “the appalling extent of the unbanked population in Malawi — 81% at the time”. On the other hand, there has been a very low penetration of banks in the rural areas. “..in our bid to help reduce the percentage of the unbanked population, we decided to come up with an account the rural people could afford (Pafupi Savings account) and a channel where they could transact closer to them (Bank Pafupi channel).” said Nkhoma.
The rural account has lower Know Your Customer (KYC) requirements and can be opened on the spot and within five minutes. Customers are exempted from providing the full set of documentation that is normally required when opening a normal KYC account. All that is needed is a National ID and a letter from the local Chief. “The initial deposit is just MK500 — thereafter, a customer is free to deposit any amount of money as part of their saving, be it as low as K200.” said Nkhoma
In the first 3 months of 2020, NBS Bank listed more than 20,000 accounts in rural areas, celebrating the financial inclusion drive.