Remarkable surge in assets marks robust growth of Rwandan commercial banks

On 2 January 2024 at 09:06

The dynamic banking sector in Rwanda has significantly contributed to the nation’s economic progress. In just three months, from June to September 2023, the assets of commercial banks surged by an impressive Rwf211 billion, reflecting the sector’s vitality.

Rwanda boasts a total of 15 banks, including 10 commercial banks and the Development Bank of Rwanda. These institutions not only facilitate savings but also provide essential loans for developmental endeavors, actively promoting economic growth.

Encouraged by a successful campaign urging citizens to use banks instead of unconventional methods to safeguard their money, the banking sector has emerged as one of the country’s fastest-growing segments. Statistics from the Central Bank of Rwanda reveal an 18.1% increase in the banking sector, attributed to rising capital and customer deposits.

As of June 2023, the assets of the 10 commercial banks stood at Rwf5,153 billion, soaring from Rwf4,445 billion in June 2022. By September 2023, the assets further escalated to Rwf5,364 billion, as reported by the Central Bank of Rwanda.

Tony Francis Ntore, CEO of the Rwanda Bankers’ Association (RBA), highlighted the sector’s robust development during a December 2023 meeting with Indian investors. He noted a substantial increase of over Rwf211 billion in the assets of the 10 commercial banks from June to September 2023.

Ntore emphasized the stability and strength of Rwandan banks, with a commendable capital adequacy ratio of 21%, exceeding the Central Bank’s stipulated 15%. This stability is reflected in the impressive financial performance, as all banks collectively earned Rwf96.9 billion in the first quarter of 2023, a 30.2% increase compared to the same period in 2022.

The Central Bank’s data revealed a remarkable 40% growth in the number of bank depositors and a 39% increase in borrowers from June 2022 to June 2023. In contrast, microfinance institutions and credit organizations experienced a 15% decrease in loan applicants during the same period.

Ntore pointed out the widespread presence of banks across the country, leveraging technology and collaborations with telecommunication companies. The adoption of digital banking channels is evident, with a 59% increase in mobile money transactions and a 191% surge in remittances through banking channels.

Internet banking also witnessed substantial growth, with a 67% increase in money sent and a significant rise in the number of transfers.