Tanzania Banking Welcomes New Branch in Tegeta

Akiba Commercial Bank (ACB), one of the fastest growing banks in the Tanzania banking sector, has just opened another new branch approximately 15 kilometers from the Dar City Center in Tegeta.

The bank’s new branch was opened on February 12, 2008, making it the sixth ACB branch in Tanzania’s major commercial city.

The ACB originally opened its doors in August 1997 as the result of an initiative of over 300 Tanzanian entrepreneurs.

The vision and mission of the entrepreneurial group was to support the growth and establishment of businesses in Tanzania with the support of financial services to be made available at all levels, based on the services of a commercial bank that was not only owned by Tanzanians, but that was also committed to serving the people of the country

In an interview with East African Business Week (EABW), the Managing Director for the ACB, John Lwande, said that the commissioning of the branch in Tegeta represents an important milestone in the bank’s history as it will help to strengthen the bank’s position among tight competition in the banking sector.

“The industry is getting very competitive,” said Mr. Lwande in his interview with EABW, “but we want to remain strong enough by expanding.”

Mr. Lwande went on to say that the bank’s new location in Tegeta was critical as the area is beginning to play an important role in the trade center of the country and it was, therefore, necessary to extend their services to the people in the area.

Late last year, a leading nonprofit microfinance organization, ACCION International, made plans to take over the management of the bank and invest as much as USD 2.5 million with a 20 percent share in the bank.

The idea behind this investment was that, with the help of ACCION, ACB would be able to work toward the expansion of its operations and financial services, specifically in the area of microfinance.

According to Mr. Lwande, the ACB is looking to working specifically with a customer base that is primarily composed of small and medium size business entrepreneurs who will be served through the banks microfinance module.

Since the management of the bank was taken over by ACCION, the ACB has begun using a number of expansion strategies, including opening a number of new branches and beginning a series of ambitious publicity campaigns, thus beginning to focus more distinctly on expanding their customer base.

According to the mayor of Dar es Salaam, Adam Kimbisa, by opening a sixth branch in Dar es Salaam, ACB was recognizing the importance of the region to the operations of the bank.

“The banking industry is now more competitive than ever before with more and more banks coming on the scene every time,” said Mr. Kimbisa, “This gives customers a wide choice [which] will be very much determined by the quality of service that a bank gives them.”