BCR Brings Online, SMS Banking to Rwanda

Digital Content

Banking with Commercial Bank of Rwanda (bcr) has been made easier with the introduction of Internet and Short Message Service (SMS) banking facilities.

SMS banking is a service that allows the bank clients to get instant information on their bank accounts using their mobile phones while internet banking is a facility that allows the bank clients to consult their bank accounts 24 hours a day, 7 days a week without queuing up in the banking halls.

Rwanda Commercial Bank (bcr), the second largest private bank with over 30% market share in the country announced introduction of the two urban facilities last week.

With the two facilities up and running, the bcr clients will have a choice to interact with their bank accounts. With Internet banking, electronic money transfer will be easy to all bcr clients in Rwanda and abroad. The two services will be available in a couple of months, according to bank officials.

"We are giving our customers a choice. They have a bouquet to choose from", the bcr head of retail banking, Gilbert Lagaillarde said at the bank headquarters in Kigali.

While unveiling the two facilities to the journalists, bcr marketing manager, Ms. Vivian Kayitesi noted that SMS banking will be accessible to all bcr clients with a mobile phone and online banking for those with a computer connected to the internet. The services will not introduce extra costs. Bcr will also facilitate its clients using SMS banking to buy MTN airtime using money on their bank accounts at no extra charges.

Asked if the bank carried out a market research to figure out how many of its clients would access the two facilities, the bank officials said that they are trying to encourage Rwandans to get used to Internet and mobile phone services. "We are encouraging many people to use internet and mobile phone services. The target is every one," Lagaillarde said.

By introducing Internet banking, the bank is paying attention to the Rwandans living abroad, who have been in need of the service. "We want to encourage the Diaspora to invest back home. This is going to help a lot of them to make decisions to invest back home", the bank's head of corporate banking, Hannington Namara said.

BCR also looks at expediting its service delivery to the clients by adding more Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) and open more branches in the country.

The available figures show that, last year, bcr grew by 47% in profit registering a net profit worth Rwf3.1bn ($5.6m). The bank grew by 42% in revenue, 37% in total assets and 27% in customer deposits. Bcr is the second private largest bank in Rwanda after Banque de Kigali with over 30% market share. It is owned 80% by Actis, a UK based firm and 20% by the government of Rwanda.

East African Business Week