On December 31, 2013, The National Bank of Rwanda has awarded AB Bank Rwanda (ABR) the license to operate as a Microfinance Bank, and operations have started shortly thereafter from its first branch in the Nyamirambo area of Kigali.
The mission of ABR is to be a socially responsible bank for the lower and middle income population of the Rwandan society and to be the one-stop bank of choice for micro and small enterprises in the country. "During the first days we are already seeing strong interest from our target clientele. Many customers have started to deposit money and applied for our loan products", said Christoph Kneiding, the Managing Director of ABR.
ABR is the eighth bank within the international network of Access Microfinance Holding AG ("AccessHolding") of Berlin/Germany. It has been established jointly by AccessHolding with the support of three of the most reputable investors in the global microfinance industry: the IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, KfW Development Bank (KfW) and the Netherlands Development Finance Company (FMO). The founding shareholders have endowed the bank with an initial capital of RWF 3.5 billion (approx. EUR 4 million).
Christoph Diehl, a Member of AccessHolding’s Management Board and the Chairman of AB Bank Rwanda’s Board of Directors, commented: "The creation of AB Bank Rwanda marks the continuation of our expansion strategy in Sub-Saharan Africa in general and East/Southeast Africa in particular. We are convinced that the bank will set new standards in the Rwandan microfinance sector in terms of responsible finance, customer service, transparency as well as speed and ease of access. By doing so, we aim to make a meaningful contribution to enterprise development, employment and income generation." Mr. Diehl added that AB Bank Rwanda will expand from its home base, Kigali, to other locations across Rwanda in the coming years.