Opinion: From Charles Simangos facebook
I am still trying to locate the selling point for this. From a distance, one would want to believe that this is an opportunity for those is the diaspora to migrate their accounts from their countries of residence to NB. And like with any migration one needs to look at what they will be able to maintain and what they will gain over and above what they are already having. In this case, the two questions a person in diaspora will be asking are:
1. Will I be able to RETAIN the services I am already having with my current banker where I am? For example, will I:
– CONTINUE to spend without limits, where I am, without seeking permission
– CONTINUE to make transfers, including INSTANT transfers, in the currency of my jurisdiction without LIMITS or PERMISSIONS equal or more than what is currently permitted in my current jurisdiction
– CONTINUE to withdraw any amount without limits or permissions
2. What new advantages will I GAIN? I will not hive examples mungaonere mayeso but these are some of what is/are NOT an advantage(s):
– access to asset-based loans for areal Estate. Isn’t one not already able to do exactly the same without having the diaspora account? Where is the advantage?
– Get 2% interest on KWACHA (forex) above normal rate on fixed deposit. I don’t know why that is even a selling point. For perspective, the parallel market is offering K1700 to the dollar which you can access in 5 minutes any time of the day. Why would one change his dollar into K1700 in under 5 minutes and then proceed to hold the K1700 at NB for 12 months just in order to gain 2 percent above whatever small savings interest is currently being offered? I don’t get it!
– Funeral insurance is not an advantage if a) one has to buy it from a third party at normal rate b) the insurance falls short of addressing the pain point for funerals in diaspora which none of the current offers even come close to doing. Diaspora funeral insurance for the Zimbabwe community includes two air tickets, body expatriation, food and burial services. Try beating that! Ours is not even enough to repatriate body let alone accompaniment for even one person!
– digital products with preferential pricing is actually a disadvantage – diaspora bank-based digital products are mostly free!
– free internet banking (I am lost, who pays for internt banking in the diaspora?)
– Real Estate Investment? Unless it beats what others are offering ( e.g. Standard Bank) and addresses the current challenges being faced by the diaspora to fully get on board. Hint: the problem with lack of uptake has nothing to do with the bank offer)
I can’t go on and on.
So unless the MAINTAIN and ADVANTAGE parts are clearly and properly addressed, this could end up being just another FDC pig with new lipstick – especially those who already have NB is local Kwacha accounts. I have read through the detailed offer and I am not sold.
As I said, this is not the first time this product is being peddled. It is actually a very good idea. If done right, NB, Standard Bank and others pursuing this route can easily have thousands of Malawians lining up to open diaspora Forex denominated accounts with them . And I mean, thousands. The problem is that that they do not ask because if they did, we would not be giving having these discussion. Instead, they sit in their conference rooms, brainstorm AMONGST THEMSELVES, prepare a product and throw it into the diaspora. Which is very puzzling considering the billions they have sitting phwii. All they need to do is ask. I, for one, can open an account with them TODAY if they maintained and added just ONE thing. In fact everyone will be lining up to have their direct deposit made into their diaspora account in no time at all. Just one thing and it’s a very easy thing to do.
And, no, I will not tell you. You did not ask. You never ask. As I am talking, a SACCO from Kenya has been in my city for two months now, holding townhall meetings and opening thousand a of diaspora accounts (of course anzathu aliko ambiri). They came first to ask, now they are back with a diaspora account designed with and for the diaspora. Only heave knows what you want to do with those billions of profits, if you cannot even do this.
Basi, ndasiya, mutu wayamba kuwawa, side ya ku left.