|UOB Board March 15 2013|
The first quarter of 2013 has ended. This quarter has been one of the toughest quarters in our 4-year life in Rwanda. Nonetheless, God remains good and faithful. We thank Him for all He has done and He has provided.
Here are the highlights of what God has done through us in March.
1. We continued registering clients for mHose, UOB's unique inter-operable mobile banking platform developed and operating in cooperation with mVISA, VISA's emerging market mobile banking platform. We now have almost 300 clients signed up and 20 agents are getting signed up and trained.
2. We continued distributing UOB Grace Cards to our clients. These cards should help them access their savings through ATMs and POS at agents and merchants.
|One of 500 Teachers' Bibles|
3. We have secured 500 Teachers' Bibles that will be distributed to pastors at 7-8 small denominations, including some Anglican dioceses, Methodists, Presbyterians, PEFA, Assembly of God, Friends (Quakers) and Baptists. May God bless these pastors with in-depth knowledge about the Word to be preaching to their congregation members more profoundly.
4. UOB held its first board meeting in 2013 in March. The board also held its retreat to evaluate what UOB has done for the past two yeas and to determine the priorities for the next two years. World Relief Vice President of Integral Mission came to facilitate the session. UOB also held its Assembly of General Meeting to elect two new directors, approve the Audited Financial Statements for 2012 with an unqualified opinion and approve the new external auditor, Price Waterhouse Coopers for 2013 - 2015.
5. UOB started checking with Credit Reference Bureau on its group loan borrowers of Rwf1 million ($1,400) or higher in March. The finding was astonishing. A significant percentage of our group clients has loans from other financial institutions and many of them are already past due with them. These multiple loan borrowers are highly likely to be in over-indebtedness beyond their ability to manage the debt. This has been one of the direct reasons for the rising Portfolio at Risk percentage. Although the immediate impact is lower loan portfolio and reduced number of borrowing clients, we feel it is in their and our best interest not to grant loans to these people. Please pray that this new procedure will not affect those who are in need.
|Aflatoun, a fire ball figure|
6. UOB participated in the AFLAAcademy training. AFLAAcademy is a virtual school that trains trainers of Aflatoun curriculum that teaches children about financial and social education and encourages them to save and start social and financial enterprises. This is part of UOB's EduFinance and Education program as sponsored by DFID Rwanda under its Innovation for Education Program. UOB has received approval on its proposal.
7. UOB has signed an Alliance Agreement with Access Bank Rwanda in March. Under this Alliance Agreement, UOB and Access Bank Rwanda will work together in several areas of mutual interest, including local currency line of credit, joint branding for ATMs, branch facility sharing, joint marketing for NGOs. etc.
8. Jeffrey made a trip to Accra Ghana to attend the T24 R10 Model Bank design workshop. UOB is scheduled to migrate to this Model Bank during the third quarter 2013.
9. Jeffrey conducted a day-long "Good Steward's Financial Management" seminar for 20 participants who are mostly KOICA volunteers and S. Korea's Handong Global University's social enterprise team members. Also, Jeffrey conducted a training session for 19 UOB managers about "Banking for Managers."
10. Kristin's Nursery Construction Project (Yaramba, Gicumbi) has been progressing well. The external and internal construction work has been completed. Now the furnishing and ancillary facilities are being implemented. Kristin has also begun the dialogue with a church member who will organize and manage the nursery.
11. UOB received many visitors in March, including Director of Risk, Director of Agricultural Finance and Director of H.R. for OI Africa.
12. Jeffrey continued ministering to God's people through preaching and teaching the Word at UOB Devotion, Agape Church Rwanda and Shalom Bible Study. We are studying "Lead Like Jesus" at SBS.
|2012 Annual Report|
13. UOB published its 2012 Annual Report that is unapologetically identifying UOB as a Christian bank and its work is Christ-centered and Client-focused.
14. Jeffrey's father has been discharged from the hospital and now living at home. His health has improved tremendously and we praise the Lord who has answered our and your prayers. Thank you for praying with us for him. Kristin's mom remains pretty much the same staying at the nursing home. Please remember to pray for our elderly parents so that we may not be distracted by their illness.
15. Please remember us in your prayer for the following issues:
* Rwanda's economic situation remains gloomy. The money is not circulating and creating significant challenges with Rwandans and institutions alike. The government is also struggling to fund its planned projects and programs.
* UOB's financial and operating performances remain pretty challenging. We are thinking of taking some measures to control expenses.
* The roll-out of mHose and UOB Grace Cards continue, but glitches continue to pop up to slow down the launch process. We are scheduled for commercial launch in May and may this project gain God's favor to avoid any further delay.
* We continue to facilitate the scale-up of HLI training for our clients. Due to rising PAR and declining loan portfolio balance, our lending staff is not able to provide as much training as they desire and we hoped. Please remember to pray for this important program to promote our client training program. There are other programs that we are implementing and we pray these programs to be effective and fruitful for His Kingdom.
Thank you for standing with us in prayer and support.
Rejoicing greatly in the Lord's resurrection!
Jeffrey and Kristin Lee from Kigali, Rwanda.