Yesterday, Zigama Credit and Savings Society (Zigama CSS) announced a net profit of over Rwf6.8 billion for the year 2016.During a General Assembly at Rwanda Defence Forces (RDF) headquarters in Kigali, Dr James Ndahiro, the chairman board of directors, Zigama CSS, told journalists that the cooperative bank’s profit is on course to rise in 2017.
“We have met as CSS members to review what we did last year, and to also set out new plans for the next year. Our members are so excited because we achieved a record profit margin. We want to continue growing as a bank,” he explained.
The 2016 financial report showed that the cooperative bank’s net profit increased from Rwf5.2 billion in 2015, representing a 31 per cent increment, while the total assets stood at Rwf 215.4 billion in 2016, representing a 25 per cent increment, compared to the previous year.
Capital and reserves also hit a record of over Rwf44.3 billion compared to Rwf36.9 billion realised the previous year, which represents an increase of 20 per cent.
As a way to help advance beneficiaries’ welfare, Zigama-CSS disbursed over Rwf124 billion in loans to its members last year, which saw the bank’s loan portfolio grow from Rwf 102.6 in 2015. Construction took the biggest chunk of the loans disbursed to members, Ndahiro said.
“While more members have been able to access loans, about 70 per cent went into construction activities. We have facilitated our members to build their own houses,” he said.
In 2015, the cooperative bank cut down the interest rate from 15 to 13 per cent, to boost lending among members of CSS and their spouses and encourage setting up and expansion of income-generating activities.
The following year, the bank introduced the ‘solidarity fund’ to help repay loans left by deceased members.
Ndahiro explained that the reduction in interest rate and the establishment of the solidarity fund has enabled more members to access credit, and encouraged others to access the bank’s services.
Setting up education schemeTo help the members and their spouses access education, Zigama CSS plans to coe up with an education policy, which, according to Ndahiro, will support the families of military and contribute to the growth of the education sector.
“Most of our members are young while others have children who go to school. Putting in place an education policy is part of facilitating them to save for their future and their families to be able to easily pay for education,” he noted.
The cooperative bank has already tasked its welfare committee to lead the work of formulating the right policy that will best serve members and their familes in education.
Meanwhile, the bank, like many other banks in the country, is trying to embrace technology to allow its clients have efficient and affordable services without moving from their work places.
“We understand the government’s plans to promote cashless economy, and we, therefore, encourage our members to use technology tools even when it comes to banking. Today, our members use e-banking and other mobile technologies to do transactions,” Ndahiro said.
Zigama predominantly caters for members of the Rwanda Defence Force, Rwanda Correctional Services and Rwanda National Police, and it received a commercial banking license from the central bank in 2011.