Sunday, April 1, 2012

Ministry Updates - March 2012

Dear friends, family and fellow Kingdom workers,

We are always amazed by the way God works. We were blessed by what He did to and through UOB.

1. UOB has been pilot testing its mobile banking and branch-less agent banking solutions with four groups of clients. It has been working well so far and we honor our God for His grace. We have been signing up new agents. Thus far, four independent retail merchants have signed up and KCB Rwanda, Kenya's largest bank, has also signed up as UOB's agents. UOB has also signed up to be KCB's agent for its mobile banking. This way, both banks can allow their clients use each other's branches for their banking transactions. KCB and UOB are in strategic alliance. We are also working on enhancing the functional solutions to our mobile banking to appeal to deposit clients.
to the Scottish government for a grant that will help us expand our agricultural and energy products in Rwanda. The result will be announced in April and we would like to request your prayer.

2. OI UK has submitted a proposal to the Scottish government for a grant that, once approved, will help expand agricultural and energy products to rural Rwanda significantly. The result will be announced in April and I would like to request your prayer.

3. UNCDF has selected to work with UOB on its project in cooperation with KOICA. This project will focus on two districts, Kamonyi and Nyamagabe, and Kicukiro College of Technology for financial inclusion and entrepreneurial financing. We are blessed by many resources that God provides for UOB.
4. We are expanding our "Linkage Loans" particularly with CARE International's VSLA (Village Savings and Loan Association). Our pilot testing was successful and we have come to an agreement to scale up our collaboration. May God bless us in this endeavor so that those who are in informal sectors may have access to formal financial services freely. 

5. We have finally begun to offer Western Union remittance services at all eight (8) branches. It has been delayed somewhat due to system configuration challenges. We will soon begin to offer RIA remittances and Money Gram in April. UOB will be the only bank that offers all three remittance services, in addition to global wire transfer services in Rwanda.

6. UOB's loan portfolio continued its increase to Rwf7.9 Billion as of March 30th, up from Rwf7.56 Billion a month earlier. The deposit balance also increased to over Rwf5.2 Billion. UOB's loan portfolio quality declined slightly with PAR>30 days at 1.5%

7. For the first two months in 2012, UOB reported an operating profit despite a slow seasonality and significant salary adjustments that we made for annual performance review. We are so grateful! In March, we expect to continue being sustainable. Praise the Lord!

8. For the month of February, the number of clients who received at least one lesson of HLI training was close to 9,000. We are prayerfully working closely with all relationship staff to increase this client transformation effort further in 2012. 

9. UOB is in the process of establishing its Support Center in Kimironko. Construction began in March and is almost completed. In April, approximately 25 UOB support staff will relocate to the Support Center. We will hand over the space above KCB Rwanda Head Office that we have been using to KCB for its own use. With a slightly more rent, we will more than double our current space. We are also expanding our Kimironko Branch to meet the growing needs at the branch.

10. UOB is exploring the possibility of bringing solar chargers and efficient cooking stoves to its clients. We are collaborating with MTN on solar chargers and with Paradigm on efficient cooking stoves. Both will help improve the life quality of our clients, while presenting a micro business opportunity. 

11. UOB has strengthened its Branch Support Team by hiring a leader for the team. This is part of the bank's continuous efforts to strengthening its operations team. Also, UOB has signed a contract to hire its Chief Operating Officer. Once she joins UOB in April, UOB will have a strong operations team to be able to better serve its clients in branch operations. We thank the Lord for His providence.

12. UOB has published its 2011 Annual Report. It looks beautiful, but more importantly it shows how wonderful God's grace was upon UOB indeed in 2011. If you want to receive an electronic version of it, please let me know.

13. Korean missionaries in Rwanda continued the monthly prayer fellowship and it was a blessing to us all. We hope to see this fellowship develop further to collaboration that will produce synergy for His Kingdom. 

14. Jeffrey continued serving God's people through preaching at UOB staff devotion and Agape Korean Church in Rwanda. He also led the weekly Shalom Bible Study, studying the Sermon on the Mount. It is a time of mutual blessing and spiritual growth.

15. We have the following Prayer Requests: Please...

      * Pray for the UOB's continuing holistic transformational development through Christian micro finance in Rwanda.
      * Pray for the continued beta pilot testing for mobile and agent banking until June.
      * Pray for a scaled-up progress in UOB's agricultural lending program.
      * Pray for successful development of financial resources for several projects under development. 
      * Pray for God's wisdom and guidance in designing effective educational finance products that will benefit many students in Rwanda
      * Pray for our children (Amanda + James, and Joyce) to figure out what God has in store for their lives on earth. 
      * Pray for God's peacefulness in the heart of Kristin's mom during her last days of life on earth

We appreciate your standing with us through prayer and support!   

Every spiritual blessing IN CHRIST, (Ephesians 1:3)

Jeffrey and Kristin Lee from Kigali, RWANDA,

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