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Opportunity bank shifts from 'elitist' Kololo to Kamwokya

Opportunity bank Uganda, a Tier II credit institution, has moved its head office from John Babiha Avenue Kololo to Old Kira road Kamwokya “to identify with the people it serves”.

The bank's chief executive officer Emmanuel Tineyi Mawocha told reporters last week that some of these customers have not had access to financial services.

Bank of Uganda supervision executive director Twinemanzi Tumubwinee chats with Opportunity bank officials

“Where we were at John Babiha Avenue was elitist and hard to access for our core customers,” Mawocha said.

“We have particularly existed as an organisation committed to financial inclusion.”

The bank will also have its colours change from red to black, white and blue, representing a rebirth of the brand, said Mawocha. The institution also announced that it expects to move from Tier II credit institution to Tier I where it will become a commercial bank.

“We have seen our clients progress from having little to more but end up being big and leaving us. The last thing we need is to nurture a client and then let them go to another [bank because we can no longer serve their needs],” he said.

He said they had also applied to offer foreign currency services

“We want to be part of clearing house which we can’t do in our current status and would like to offer unique services to our clients. Some of our clients have grown big and want more services.”

Mawocha said Opportunity bank’s assets are at Shs 28 billion including retained income. This is above the Shs 25 billion that the central bank requires for one to be a commercial bank.

Twinemanzi Tumubwinee, the new executive director of supervision at Bank of Uganda, said they had seen opportunity bank progress from being a small entity and getting to a stage where it is becoming self-sufficient by getting into the tier one fold – becoming a commercial bank.

Tumubwinee said the central bank expected three things from Tier II institutions: compliance, innovation and fairness to the customers they serve.

In 2016, Mybuck, a Luxembourg-based financial and technology (Fintech) firm, bought 49% stake in Opportunity bank as it thought to expand its African presence. Its interest in the bank comes handy as the Opportunity bank seeks to deepen its usage of digital products.

“The reality is that digital and mobile banking are the only realistic paths for the unbanked and under-banked in many emerging markets,” said Dave Van Nia, Mybuck CEO told reporters then.

Opportunity bank is licenced by Bank of Uganda and has at least 300,000 customers. Other tier II credit institutions are Mercantile Credit bank, Post bank, and Top Finance bank.

amwesigwa@observer.ug

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