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Only 3% access formal credit—RBM

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Only three percent of the country’s population has access to credit from formal financial sector, a development that has bothered regulator, the Reserve Bank of Malawi (RBM).

The central bank has since urged commercial banks and microfinance institutions to consider coming up with products and services that would woo clients.

Speaking last week, RBM Chief Examiner for Consumer Protection and Financial Literacy, Madalitso Chamba, said RBM is working with stakeholders to help address the challenge.

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“Our objective is to promote access and usage of credit. We have only three percent of the population which is currently accessing credit and our objectives is to find out why people are not accessing credit in Malawi the way we expect,” Chamba said.

Chamba said lack of awareness and low knowledge on the matter is among the challenges faced.

“Most people who get credit do not understand. One of the issues we have been emphasizing is that before you sign a credit contract, you need to understand the terms and conditions,” Chamba said.

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From December 9 to 13, the central bank and other stakeholders were commemorating the credit awareness week.

Among other things, RBM worked with stakeholders in disseminating information on merits of accessing and borrowing money from licensed institutions including banks, microfinance institutions and savings and credit cooperatives.

It was, however, noted that some people had no idea that they can repay credit before stipulated period, according to Chamba.

Chamba said it was also discovered that some people feared extra charges if they were to repay their loan before agreed period.

In a separate interview, Senior Deputy Commissioner of Police, Lenford Kamphika, said the awareness campaign is timely.

“The knowledge we have gained will help us in our economic well-being, families, social life and even our institutions,” Kamphika said.

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