The epidemic has led to the closure of businesses in Rwanda and suspension of many non-basic business activities.
The decision follows a review and consideration by the executive committee and the board of directors on ways to further support customers and their businesses during the post COVID-19 recovery period.
Robin Bairstow, I&M Bank Chief Executive Officer stated that "by reducing the base lending rate, I&M Rwanda aims at making lending products more affordable to clients. SMEs account for a majority of businesses in Rwanda and contribute about half of Rwanda’s Gross Domestic Product as well as employment. We are aware of their role in the economy and I&M Bank Rwanda has brainstormed solutions to support them to get back on track after the lockdown."
For example, on a mortgage of RWF 50 million, the reduction will put nearly RWF 19,000 per month back in the pocket of the average client of the Bank.
The rate reduction is in conjunction with the Bank’s commitment to offer a grace period of up to 3 months for principal and/or interest payments in support of business or retail clients who are being financially affected by the pandemic.
Bairstow said that the reduction of the base lending rate was implemented with an understanding that many clients’ businesses have been interrupted by the pandemic and could have cash flow and liquidity challenges.
A statement from I&M Bank (Rwanda) Plc signed by the CEO, Robin Bairstow, reads: “It is especially living in these times of living through a pandemic that I&M Bank wants to let you know that we are in this together. To support our clients and customers, we are reducing our base lending rate by 0.5% from 16.5% to 16% starting April 15, 2020.”
Bairstow also encouraged customers to make use of the many digital platforms at their disposal for transactions as one of the ways of nipping coronavirus spread.
“There are other innovations and interventions introduced to ease transactions. We have removed costs for sending money digitally; customers can use Spenn for free in all branches to avoid physical handling of money notes.