Alliance Capital Limited has advised the Reserve Bank of Malawi (RBM) to license more non-bank financial institutions to enhance financial inclusion in the country.

“We have to create an enabling environment for financial services and enhance market linkages and partnerships between various institutions,” said Alliance Capital in its latest market update.

“There is no single path to financial inclusion, instead having a combination of a supportive regulatory environment and a strong commitment from both public and private sector stakeholders will translate into a financially inclusive policies and actions,” the update reads in part.

70 percent of Malawians remain unbanked

The investment advisory firm has since commended RBM for removing the ledger fee requirement on savings accounts.

The move which is effective January 2017 on savings accounts will relieve thousands of commercial banks customers who are charged a number of fees on their accounts.

The firm said while development is commendable, there is still the  need to improve access to financial services through more innovative digital banking products and engineering better delivery mechanisms.

In an earlier interview, consumer rights activist John Kapito, who is also Consumer Association of Malawi executive director, urged the central bank to revisit other bank charges that discourage people from banking.

He said: “What RBM should do is to take the whole build up of bank charges other than dealing with one at a time because the whole structure of these charges does not make sense.

“These charges keep us away from walking into banking halls to keep our money.  We want all the punitive bank charges removed so that people are encouraged to bank.”

RBM spokesperson Mbane Ngwira during the week said the central bank will continue working to enhance financial inclusion.

“This issue as more than just a ledger fees cut, we are looking at it from the financial inclusion position. What we would want to see is that if an account is a savings account, it should act as a savings account where if you deposit money in your account, you should be able to get the money with interest at the end of the month.

“On the same if one is a holder of transaction account, it should reflect that the account is only being used for transactions and it should be charged for transactions only,” said Mbane. n

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