Number of commercial banks, lending rates up

BoT's Governor Prof. Benno Ndulu
The number of commercial banks operating in Tanzania has increased to 45 by the end of last October, Bank of Tanzania said.

The banks have reached 45 by October last year compared to 42 registered in the same period last year.

According to BoT, Monthly Economic Review of last November, the increase has pushed up as well the number branches by almost 8 per cent from 464 to 498.

BoT named the three new banks as Advans Bank (T) Ltd, EFC Tanzania M.F.C Ltd., and First National Bank (T) Ltd started operations, while Equity Bank (T) Ltd, Covenant Bank for women and Amana Bank Ltd were granted provisional banking licenses.

At the same time deposit mobilization continued to demonstrate positive trend, increasing from 9.84trn/- in October 2010 to 12.11trn/- at the end of October 2011. Deposit rate is almost equivalent to the country's 2011/12 budget.

However, majority of commercial banks are centered in three cities namely Dar es Salaam, Arusha and Mwanza, while Mbeya is protruding as a major commercial city in southern highlands.

The largest bank in terms of profitability and size—by branches and ATMs—is National Microfinance Bank (NBM) commanding 140 branches and over 400 ATMs.

The second in the list is CRDB bank followed by National Bank of Commercial (NBC) a subsidiary of ABSA group of South Africa. NMB and CRDB are listed at Dar es Salaam Stock Exchange.
The number of banks has yet to bring in the much needed competition to cut borrowing rates.

The short-term lending rates of banks ranged between 4.0 per cent and 27.0 per cent; with those extending credit to corporate customers charging lower rates than the ones extending credit to salary earners and agriculture related business.

On the other hand, interest rate for one year time deposits ranged between 2.0 per cent and 10.8 per cent.
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