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Bankers institute for regulations review

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The Institute of Bankers (IoB) in Malawi has emphasised the need to revisit regulations targeting the banking sector in the country, if it is to thrive amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Speaking at the opening of the bankers’ conference, IoB Chairperson, Zandile Shaba, said Covid-19 has gripped the economy that many businesses woke up to the realisation that they were considered non-essential.

She said the uncertainty on the possibility of ending the pandemic jolts the sector to the reality that technology holds the key as a defining tool in banks’ efforts to create value for all stakeholders.

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“Things have changed, therefore, we need to change. Some of the changes needed to navigate the new reality may require a change in regulations, accounting practices and many more. Our request to the central bank is to assist in rising awareness on remote access of banking services,” Shaba said.

Reserve Bank of Malawi Governor, Wilson Banda, said the crisis has seen authorities and banks steer through uncharted waters and adopted unconventional business models.

He said the responses have included policy rate cuts, review of liquidity requirements, loan restructuring, and review of fees on digital platforms.

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“All these have been deliberately aimed at remedying the impact of the health risk on the banking sector. The ultimate objective is that banks should continue to avail credit to the common man amidst this unfriendly environment.

“The low rate of adaptability of digital banking products is a challenge that we need to solve collectively. The drive to digital channels has also come with increased cyber security risk and attempted frauds on unsuspecting customers. This phenomenon has of course caught a few banks off-guard,” Banda said.

He added that: “we are headed into the future which by nature is uncertain; there are some questions that ought to be asked and addressed by us all, in the journey to survival.”

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