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10th bank opens its doors in Malawi

FDH Bank Limited, a subsidiary of FDH Financial Holdings Limited opened its doors last Monday in Malawi's commercial capital city of Blantyre with a promise to target corporate clients and small to medium enterprises (SMEs).
The bank was approved by the Reserve Bank of Malawi on July 15 after meeting the security operational standards. The central bank carried out a thorough inspection of the bank's premises on July 9.

FDH Financial Holdings Limited started as a First Discount House Limited (FDH) before adding FDH Stockbrokers Limited and lately the bank.

The CEO for the FDH Financial Holdings Limited, Tom Mpinganjira said the bank will initially serve corporate clients from the head office but by mid-September will open a branch in Blantyre.

“We expect to commence full banking operations by January 2008,” he declared.

The FDH Group which owns the bank 100% raised initial capital of about K300m after meeting the RBMN minimum initial requirement of US$1,5m.

“Meanwhile we have submitted an application for an Authorized Dealer Bank (ADB) licence so that we can start trading in foreign exchange,” said Mpinganjira, “the requirement is that we should establish relations with corresponding banks abroad.”

“The next step would be to offer retail and consumer banking products through our branch by mid-September,” he said.

He disclosed that so far, they have established corresponding relations with Barclays Commercial (UK), ABSA (SA), First Rand (SA), and Mashreq (UK).

Kingdom Financial Holdings Limited of Zimbabwe has 40,16% in the FDH Group, TF Mpinganjira Trust 39,84% while Old Mutual plc has 20%.

Earlier, the bank registered as a merchant bank, however the shareholders revised the decision and that is why Mpinganjira said they became FDH Bank.

“We would strive to offer loans to the public without requesting for collateral as it is the case in most southern African countries,” said Mpinganjira.

The Bankers Association of Malawi (BAM) executive director, Fanuel Kumdana lauded the coming unto the scene of the new bank saying it would provide another base for economic growth.

“We are growing and this is another point for the public to achieve economic growth,” he said.

Before the new bank, Malawi had nine banks which are Standard Bank, national Bank of Malawi, NBS Bank, Opportunity International Bank of Malawi (OIBM), Nedbank, Ecobank, Malawi Savings Bank, Indebank and First Merchant Bank.

About Gregory Gondwe

Gregory Gondwe is a Malawian journalist who started writing in 1993. He is also a media consultant assisting several international journalists pursuing assignments in Malawi. He holds a Diploma and an Intermediate Certificate in Journalism among other media-related certificates. He can be contacted on . Follow him on Twitter at @Kalipochi.