FMB hails cash transfer partnership in Balaka


First Merchant Bank (FMB) says the cash transfer programme it is implementing in Balaka on behalf of the Malawi government and Irish Aid is transforming lives of beneficiaries in the district.

FMB’s Head of Government and International Organisations, Ewen Hiwa, said the bank is proud to be a partner in this noble cause through which it is fulfilling its financial inclusion objective using its digital payment platform.

“Over the three years we have been part of the programme, we have witnessed lives getting transformed and children getting back to school. It is a heartening experience” said Hiwa


He said through the programme, FMB is also inculcating a saving culture in these communities as beneficiaries are learning to only withdraw enough cash to serve their needs and keep the rest in their accounts so they can earn interest.

“They also get to have a bank account with an ATM card despite their social status. This is a prestigious experience for them and it makes them feel economically empowered,” said Hiwa.

Hiwa said small businesses and village banks have also benefited from the programme as they are able to use banking facilities and are now more open-minded about keeping their money in the bank compared to their homes where there is no security.


FMB was appointment by the government of Malawi through the Ministry of Gender Children and Social Welfare in 2014 to pilot a digital payment model for social cash transfer beneficiaries in Balaka with funding from Irish Aid.

The programme is targeting beneficiaries that are extremely poor and include the elderly of 50 years of age and above, orphans of average age 12 years and the physically challenged.

Beneficiaries are identified by the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Welfare through the Community Social Support Committees that work closely with community leaders using an agreed selection process. A verification exercise of the household is done to ensure that those selected are bona fide beneficiaries.

Payments can be accessed through point of sale devices at Agora and Farmers World shops or at an FMB ATM, branch or agency across Malawi or through FMB Mobile Vans that visit the village cluster pay-points on scheduled days.

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