Centenary gets licence to start banking services in Malawi
What you need to know:
- The move follows Centenary Group’s acquisition of MyBucks in October last year, which had been placed into bankruptcy in December 2021.
Centenary Group has been granted a license to operate a new banking services subsidiary in Malawi.
The bank, which is majority owned by Centenary Group and the Catholic Church Archdiocese of Lilongwe – with minority shareholding – will trade as Centenary Bank Limited.
The move follows Centenary Group’s acquisition of MyBucks in October last year, which had been placed into bankruptcy in December 2021.
Centenary Group is the holding company of Centenary Bank Uganda, Centenary Technology Services and Centenary Foundation.
In Uganda the banking subsidiary has an asset value of more than Shs4.8 trillion ($1.3b), supported by a large network of customers, many of which are made up of Saccos and village saving and lending associations.
In a statement yesterday, Prof John Ddumba-Ssentamu, the Centenary Group chairman, said the Reserve Bank of Malawi had extended support to the Group, noting that the “bank will from the onset adopt an agile approach to operations, scaling customer centric propositions that will allow [it] to create highly personalised solutions … within the Malawi market”.
It is the first time Centenary is attempting to take is services beyond Uganda.
Previously Crane Bank, which was closed by Bank of Uganda in October 2016, had attempted to expand into Rwanda, opening a subsidiary in Rwanda in June 2014 but was acquired by CBA Group in 2017 following the collapse of its parent company in Uganda.
The Centenary Group has experienced rapid expansion in the last 10 years, boosted by a mix of small and medium enterprises and corporate banking, which is supported by a network of more than 80 branches, Automated Teller Machines and more than 5,200 bank agents.
The Catholic Archdiocese of Lilongwe, with which Centenary Bank will operate the new bank owns a number of educational institutions, hospitals, companies and commercial properties estimated at more than $30m.
Centenary Bank is Uganda’s second largest bank, grossing an annual revenue of Shs211.5b as of December 2022.
The bank largely depends on micro customers, a model that has largely helped it to deepen financial inclusion.
Centenary will also seek to implement the same model in Malawi, in addition to digitalising financial services.