Monday, September 13, 2010

Bank on wheels, the new face of banking

People lining to bank and withdraw from a mobile bank van
People lining to bank and withdraw from a mobile bank van
By David Ssempijja and Mubiru Kakebe

OVER a couple of years, numerous innovations have been undertaken to create convenience in banking.

For the last 10 years, more Ugandans have benefited from improved banking services after the introduction of services like Automated Teller Machines (ATMs), internet banking, and money transfer systems.

The industry has also been improved with the advent of mobile telecom firms� involvement in electronic money transfer. Now the industry has introduction systems that involve moving banks in vans.

The system is designed to extend banking services in very remote and hard to reach areas where commercial banks would definitely consider unfeasible to establish permanent branches.

Juma Walusimbi, the director of communications at Bank of Uganda says that Bank on Wheels is among the central bank- approved systems of commercial banks� mobile banking services.

These are some of the innovations we need to ensure that the country increases the number of the banked population, it introduces people in the hard to reach areas to the benefits of banking,� he said.

He however, added that banks involved in this type of services have to ensure that there is sufficient security to avoid losing customers� money.

�Security would also tally with the Central Bank�s requirement of modern risk management procedures that commercial banks must undertake,� he said.

Michael Odong is a traders in Kikuubo, a Kampala busy trade area, he hails from Napak district. Sending money to his aging mother was always very difficult. Where as he could regularly send money by bus, his brother Jacob would ride over 60 miles from Bokora sub-county to Lokopo trading centre to access the money, yet at times some messengers would misbehave and deduct some of the money.

Fausia Eperu, Odong�s mother now receives money from her son through her own bank account, courtesy of Post Bank�s mobile bank moved in vans from place to place.

�My mother must safely and quickly access money at the end of the month, thanks to the new modern technology,� Odong noted.

Code-named �Bank on Wheels�, the system that begun in 2008 has bailed out over 25,000 people in 17 districts out of the traditional systems of keeping money in tins and pots as well as difficulties in sending and receiving money.

Mobile banking is currently done in the districts of Bududa, Mbale, Napak, Kotido, Moroto, Nakapiripit, Abim Amuria, Soroti and Kumi.

According to the bank�s marketing manager William Alemi, over eighty units have been created where the vans make programmed stop-overs for withdrawals, deposits, account opening, loan acquisition, payments and applications. Other services include; money transfer through Western Union, effecting standing orders among others.

�The vans are as equipped as banking halls, backed by technology to access customer accounts� information. The system is also fitted with ATMs,� says Alemi.

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