A recent report by the Tobacco Control Commission (TCC) has revealed that most tobacco farmers in the country prefer National Bank of Malawi (NBM) plc to handle their proceeds from tobacco sales than any other bank.
In its recent statistics report for June 2018, TCC says NBM plc scored 27% followed by another commercial bank at 16% of the most preferred bank by the farmers to handle their proceeds.
NBM plc Corporate Affairs Manager Annie Magola was elated with the development and attributed this to many factors including the ‘Mlimi account’.
“We believe that the engagement of tobacco farmers though the introduction of Mlimi account assisted the Bank to grow its relationship with the tobacco farmers. The account is designed for all farmers to assist them to receive and deposit tobacco proceeds and to save their money for future use,” said Magola in an interview yesterday.
She touted the Mlimi account saying it helps farmers understand the banking world while at the same saving their money.
“Mlimi account is linked to the mobile phone platform (Mo626 ice) for messages or alerts (sms) from the bank whenever money is deposited into their accounts. This is especially good news for tobacco farmers who frequently walk to the banks just to check if their proceeds from auction floors have been credited to their accounts,” said Magola.
“The recently launched Mo626/Mpamba integration will also make it more convenient for tobacco farmers to pay their tenants. You can imagine a farmer in the remote areas who has a National Bank account and has to pay the tenants who have no banks accounts. This integration we believe will even make NBM the most preferred bank for most tobacco farmers.” Magola concluded
NBM plc Business Development Manager in the Wholesale Banking Division Sam Ngwira said in a separate interview that the bank has a well established unit with professionals in agriculture, extension and banking dealing with agricultural financing which makes it easy to understand the farmers’ needs and expectation and tries to clarify the available products befitting the farmers.
“There is transparency in customer’s transactions especially those borrowing or enjoying the bank facilities. Timely issuance of account statements to the growers and timely responses to their queries contribute to the farmers’ preference for National Bank, so we are not surprised with the statistics,” said Ngwira.
He also said NBM plc has good relationship with other stakeholders in the industry such as Auction Holdings Limited (AHL), the tobacco merchants as well as the competition such that where any of its customers has an issue with any of their stakeholders, involvement of the bank in mediation is taken seriously by the stakeholders.
Ngwira said the bank provides most competitive exchange rates tailor made for the tobacco farmers for converting the proceeds into the local currency while at the same time provide them with financial support to enable the farmers to produce the crop.
“We provide them with seasonal credit facilities which support them all the way before the sales at the auction floors,” said Ngwira.
He said the bank will strive to be flexible and change with the changing requirements of the farming community to continue being the preferred bank by the farmers.
“We will continue to migrate the customers onto the electronic platform like Mo626 so that they are up-date on proceeds inflows into their accounts and we will continue to develop financing products that suit the farmers’ agribusiness initiatives. We shall strive to ensure our service remains second to none,” declared Ngwira.