November was another month when I had the same experience of tasting God's grace in the midst of challenges.
The following were the highlights of how God was gracious to us in November:
1. We at UOB continued to face challenges in normalizing and stabilizing the operations. Portfolio at risk (PAR) continued demanding extraordinary efforts from our staff and threatening the sustainability. But we are grateful that we were able to contain it under 5%.
2. Oversupply of capital in the market obviously is tempting to many people who are desperate for money. They end up borrowing beyond their capability. This over-indebtedness is a serious threat to the underprivileged people in Rwanda and everywhere else. We had to apply rigorous screening to help them avoid this threatening over-indebtedness. Even in this midst, we registered a healthy growth in loan disbursements and active borrowing clients. Also, we continued seeing a steady growth in deposit clients. Praise the Lord!
3. UOB continued to work on preparing for the T24 R12 model bank migration project. We finally received the green light from the Project Board to bring in Jethro people to formally begin the process. But it is only the beginning. It will be the most important project for the next three months.
4. God has provided additional resources to help expand UOB's agent network through Access to Finance Rwanda ($300,000). We signed the MoU and received the first installment of $100,000 in November. Also, God has provided additional resources for UOB's general operating activities, this time, through Opportunity International UK! It is about $375,000 and we are waiting for the first installment of $144,000. God indeed provides! God is good and enabling all the time! You may read more about this here. Access to Finance Rwanda Supports UOB
5. mHose roll-out continued in November. Now we have more than 125 agents and 14,000 clients who have signed up. Transaction volume continued to increase. USSD availability was disrupted, causing problems for clients and agents, but it has now been stabilized. It is like walking on thin ice on a lake.
6. We finalized the three year strategic plan and 2014 business plan along with financial projection. These plans and financial projection will provide the guiding posts for the next three years.
7. We started using God Provides DVDs for staff devotion at branches and Kimironko Support Center. Their feedback will be evaluated and the program will be expanded to all other business units as well as to churches. Director of Transformation Impact attended a week-long Transformation Conference.
click here . I was able to visit some historical sites in Jordan during this trip. You may read more about this trip, here. Trip to Amman Jordan (November 2013)
9. I chaired the board of directors meeting for BDF, Rwanda's largest credit guaranty agency, and also attended the board of directors meeting for Opportunity Kenya, UOB's affiliate.
10. UOB received many visitors in November. They included OI's Global Head of Audit, OI US donors and staff, Hope International's technical assistance staff, ACCPAC consultant, One Acre Fund country manager, Coge Banque MD, HR staff from OI etc. We welcome visitors who may provide assistance for us and who may desire to learn from us. Either way, they are a blessing to us.
11. I continued being blessed with the opportunity of ministering to God's people through preaching at UOB Staff Devotion and St. Etienne Cathedral and teaching at Shalom Bible Study. These privileges help me stay upright before the Lord, more than anything else.
12. Kristin dedicated the Yaramba Nursery in Gicumbi to the Lord through service and the open house celebration in November. Now teachers and children are being recruited. Until the open house date, 37 children had signed up. The first class will being in January 2014. We honor and praise the Lord who has enabled us to complete the construction. You may read more about this event here. Yaramba Nursery Open House
13. We would like to pray with us on the following issues:
- Stabilize and normalize the UOB operations with recovery of revenues and control of PAR
- Continue to scale up HLI training for clients and use of 5W for group meeting standardization
- Continue to roll out mHose to relieve lending staff from handling cash
- Progress on T24 R12 model bank migration project, which upon completion will enhance the capacity to serve our clients better and more efficiently
- Continue to explore the possibility of holistic community development pilot with COOPAG
- Search and recruit the next UOB CEO whom God has prepared for UOB
- Strengthen and nurture the faith walk with the Lord of our children
- Discern God's will for our next chapter of life journey on earth
We thank you all very much for standing with us in our ministries through prayer and support. We value your friendship and partnership.
Joyfully and gratefully in His service,
Jeffrey and Kristin Lee from Kigali, RWANDA