Saturday, October 10, 2009

Rwamagana Branch Open!!!

On Friday, October 9th, we opened the Rwamagana Branch.
[<-- This is an earlier photo before the construction was completed. I forgot to take the camera.]

It is a regional hub branch to serve the entire Eastern Province for now. Actually, it looks bigger and nicer than the home office! It will house the Rwamagana EBU (Entrepreneurial Business Unit), Regional Support Center and one mobile branch when launched in December. The RSC will provide support for Ngoma EBU and Gatsibo NMO (New Market Office) as well. As we open smaller "spoke" branches or "points of delivery", as I prefer to call them, they will be served out of this regional hub. So it was a big celebration internally. Many staff members could not resis their joyful tears.

This was the third new branch that we opening this year. The first was opened in Nyanza, the south of Kigali, and the second one was in Muhanga (f.k.a. Gitarama), the west of Kigali City. Rwamagana is in the east of Kigali. So gradually we are expanding the network externally into the rural areas.

It was a soft-opening, celebrating the opening ourselves with a dozen clients. We praised God for His providence and prayed for His continuing grace. A few clients shared their testimonials. One of them said that she started with a $26 small loan that she used for retail trade as well as her school fee. It was 10 years ago. Now she owns two retail shops and is able to borrow and pay back $3,800. She is the leader for a group and is coaching others with business management skills. She also actively participates in the community and her church programs. She is also helping with orphans and widows. I thanked Him for His blessings on her.

In my turn, I thanked the Lord for His grace in the rough journey until the opening. I also thanked Him for the clients because of whom we exist. I thanked Him for all the staff I am privileged of working with. And I thanked Him for the transformation that He is achieving in the lives of our clients. I promised that UOB will not only be a bank that provides credit and savings, but it will also be providing micro insurance that will help our clients manage their life risks better. I also promised that UOB will continue to provide education and training so that their life quality will continue to improve transformationally in all aspects of their lives holistically.

We are planning to hold the grand opening ceremony early November with the guest of honor , most likely the central bank governor of the Eastern Province Governor, and the bank's board members. Praise the Lord! - Jeffrey

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