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How students created a bank with a coin of 100 Rwandan Francs

05:34 AM 2016

Most of the case youth are somehow dormant about how they can put their ideas together, and come up with a very huge business with which they can change their living standard as well developing their community. It seems unbelievable unless you hit the field and see how a very small investment can give out a very good and visionary opportunity to go self-employed and creating alternatives for life after graduation.

Facing the reality, visited CIC (Cycle Investment Cooperative) Microfinance, a small financial institution located in Gisozi Sector mainly at Gakinjiro. Itwas started by the students of Private University of Kigali(ULK), in 2014 after their University studies, and has 1128 clients, nine workers and the initial investment of 300 million by now.Below is the detailed information about it , see how a small seed developed a huge and enthusiastic tree.

The walk from 100 to 300 million Rwandan francs.

The begging is always not easy, when initiating a strong and gorgeous thing like founding a financial institution. This CIC Microfinance was started as an investment club at the beginning according to Mr. Banamwana Gilbert, a chief executive officer at CIC Microfinance. “I was the student representative of the branch of finance at ULK, then I thought about how we would live after the graduation, regarding the level of unemployment that was getting higher. I came up with an idea of how we could start investing based on the financial position we had, so that we would be able to start something in the future that can give us employment.

My mind led me to starting a financial institution, as it was our domain. So, we needed 300 million as a starting capital, among 14 students who understood that idea, we were required to look for 3000 student members, each one should save 100Rf a day hence 3000Rf monthly resulting to 36000 annually, this gave 108 million that were saved by the club as whole in one year. So, it took us only three years to reach 300 million and beyond, this is how we have got the capital required by National Bank of Rwanda to give the license.” Said Gilbert.

Why join CIC Microfinance?

If you check the speed of increasing number of clients, having the variety of neighboring financial institutions, you can ask the same question. Mr. Banamwana Gilbert answered to this by elaborating on how fruitful it is to open up an account in CIC Microfinance.

He says that when a client opens an account there it is like buying the company, “If you open an account, you immediately have the ownership and become the owner, the share that you own gives interest every year, you can sell it whenever you need to and it can be given as a mortgage to get the loan. Another point is that before to give the loan, a client should have been with us for sometimes, therefore he or she is the owner so, no further inspection carried out to give the loan as it is in other institutions. All these differences are the ones based on by clients with vision when coming to us not to others.” Said Banamwana.

CIC Microfinance goes hand in hand with the government policy in terms of technology development!

Since the government of Rwanda has imposed the Development of technology in all aspect of life. It is the key element to evaluate the development of any financial institution based on the level of technology that it uses to accomplish their transactions. CIC Microfinance did not remain behind, it also created its way to strengthen technology.

Banamwana says that they did not forget about it and it is very helpful in this electronic and smart generation. “There is no way we could do our things without technology in this generation, so we invented the software that is mostly common in banking system, we use it in accounting, giving loan, and keeping in touch with our clients, we inform them of the paying loan deadline, new in and out movement of cash on their account the balance and so on.” He said. “We are also proceeding how clients will be able to borrow and deposit their money on their account through mobile money, tigo cash and airtel money, this is still in plans, and we are collaborating with software providers and will be through soon.”

Youth advice

Banamwana Gilbert pass the message of empowerment to the youth especially graduates and those still at school bench. He says that what they did is simply possible to every group of people(youth) thinking out of the box with the same purpose. “What we did is not a miracle, starting from 100 Rf targeting 300 million needs patience and having an optical destination, it was not easy to convince our colleagues the possibility of this assumption, this was the challenge but we have never given up.

Reaching the level on which we are, with the hope to touch our destiny means that there are ability and potential among the youth especially when they pull their hands together, so they should ignore their fear and think wider, the location is convenient and people have different opportunities, you can create not only a microfinance but something even bigger than it like a factory or an industry, it depends upon your vision!” Said Gilbert Banamwana encouraging youth to think towards self-employment.

The achievements, and future plan of the CIC Microfinance

The business was running for three years as a financial institution, it has achieved many targets and objectives so far. Banamwana Gilbert says that since 2012, when the idea was raised and 2014 when it was put up as SACCO (Savings and Credits Cooperative), up to now a Microfinance, they have increased the number of clients to 1128, the level of interest is now 150 million and the goodwill as they create their reputation.

He also says that they aim at making it even bigger than a Microfinance, and keep evolution as the time progresses. “We started as an investment club, then we came out a SACCO in 2014, we are now a society. so, we plan that we will have become a bank by 2019” He said.” We also need to have increased the number of client from 1128 to 2000 clients by 2019. And our interest will be raised to 300 million in 2017 and 1.5 billion in 2019.”


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