Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Ministry Updates - December 2012

Traditionally, December is a busy month. Loan demand increases in line with increased economic activities. Deposit withdrawal also increases in line with increased spending over the festive season. People take time off and year-end closing routines still need to be done.
SBS singing at Carol Service
Children of our clients who wish to continue their study
I am so thankful that the month of December in 2012 has been finished without any major hick-ups. Operational and financial performances remained pretty flat in December from the previous month, but we are grateful that we were able to maintain excellent quality in our loan portfolio quality, operational efficiency, client service spirit and our love for the Lord and His people. 

The following are the highlights of December:

1. UOB held the quarterly board meeting in December. The board approved the proposed 2013 budget and the three-year (2013-15) Strategic Plan. The board also approved the payment of bonus to all staff, even temporary staff, thanks to a notable performance far above the budget. Our staff is happy and I am extremely happy for them.

2. UOB finally went live with its mobile banking platform, namely mHose, in line with the launch of mVISA, VISA's mobile banking platform targeting emerging markets. UOB is the world's first principal member of VISA as an MFI. UOB's mHose offers interest on deposit balances and free life insurance for its clients, on top of the mobile banking platform of mVISA that is interoperable. Also, UOB received approval from the central bank on its first batch of 26 agents to handle e-payment transactions for its clients.

3. UOB has now ordered and issued 50,000 debit cards (Chip and PIN) for its clients. They will be distributed during the first quarter 2013. Our clients will access 245+ ATMs and perform transactions at many outlets, such as other bank branches and agents through POS.

Mushroom growing at a client cooperative
4. UOB received approval for a GBP610,000 grant from DFID Rwanda under its Innovation for Education program. This grant will help UOB scale up its EduFinance program over the next 28 months. Praise the Lord!

5. UOB opened its Huye Branch in December. This branch will be the hub for serving clients in southern province. This branch is UOB's 10th branch and 43rd business outlet.

6. UOB is implementing its Spiritual and Social Performance Management system, or UOB SSPM, with 27 performance indicators. It will take time to implement them all, but 2013 will be the first year of formally measuring certain social and spiritual performances on UOB's transformation efforts.

7. UOB received a Social Audit report from Planet Rating sponsored by Oxfam Novib. This report shows what UOB is doing and how it is doing for its social performance. This will be used to capitalize on its strengths and strengthen its weaknesses. This was the first of its kind done at UOB.

8. UOB held a senior leadership offsite meeting and separate meetings with EBU leaders and branch leaders. Through these meetings, we introduced the new spiritual and management theme for 2013: T.R.A.N.S.F.O.R.M. This time we intend to go back to basics after the previous themes of A.R.I.S.E. (2010), S.H.A.L.O.M. (2011) and I.N. C.H.R.I.S.T. (2012). I plan to preach at UOB staff devotion with the new 2013 theme at the center. Also, it will be a reminder to all staff about the management theme.

9. Jeffrey continued serving God's people through preaching at Agape Korean Church and UOB Staff Devotions, and teaching at Shalom Bible Study. SBS members sang a special song at Agape Korean Church and participated in international and multilingual Christmas carol service at St. Etienne Cathedral. (Photo)

Gicumbi Church Members Working
10. Kristin continued following up on the Gicumbi Nursery project. God has provided all the funding needs and Kristin has sent out the first progress report to the supporters. The land has been flattened (Photos) and the foundation work will begin in January 2013. 

We would like to express our deep appreciation for your standing with us in prayer and support throughout 2012.  We look forward to continuing to work with you on many fronts in 2013. We request your prayer on the following subjects:
  • UOB will begin B2B (Back to Basics) movement in its core activities, including client training and group lending methodology. We ask you to pray for God's guidance in this process.
  • UOB will launch CSP (Client Service Point) strategy in 2013. This CSP Strategy is continuation to the previous e-Wallet Strategies that ended in December 2012 after two years of implementation. Upon successful launch, the CSP Strategy should help our clients significantly increase their access to financial services. We ask you to pray for God's grace upon this strategy.
  • UOB will implement its UOB SSPM and increase client training (HLI) significantly. We ask you to pray for God's blessing on this effort.
  • UOB will scale up EduFinance and Agric Finance programs in 2013, starting with the implementation of Secondary Student Loan, a tuition fee loan being implemented in cooperation with Merry Year International from S. Korea. We ask you to pray for successful progress. 
  • UOB will be featured by UNDP as a most successfully scaled up MFI in Sub-Sahara Africa. UOB has also been written up by Wall Street Journal. These are honors more than we deserve. Please pray that we will continue to put our trust in the Lord, remaining humble in what we do and with our attitude.
  • Please pray for God's special blessing upon the Gicumbi Nursery project so that many little children may be taken off the streets to the nursery to receive early childhood education that they deserve.
  • Flat land after the work
  • Kristin's mom is still at the nursing home and Jeffrey's father has been hospitalizedwith his Alzheimer's disease. They both have lived a long life, but please pray for their last part of life to be peaceful and hopeful for the life to come. Also pray for Joyce's life in Senegal to be fruitful and also to draw closer to the Lord.
We would like to wish you and your family a blessed New Year in 2013!

Gratefully in His service,

Jeffrey and Kristin Lee from RWANDA

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