After we left Mengi's IPP headquarters we headed to the National Microfinance Bank (NMB) for a meeting with its CEO Ben Christiaanse. NMB was privatized in 2005 and is now owned by Tanzanian government (51%) and by the Dutch bank (49%). They serve about 40,000 customers and have an extensive network. They have many project such as NMB Junior Account, NMB Bonus Account and NMB Personal Account. Christiaanse has been in Dar for a short time but seems to progress fast. In 6 months NMB created 400 jobs, introduced new programs and sponsor youth events (soccer team). They are improving their banking business through developing an IT system and training programs. They are connecting worlds of developed and developing countries by sending employees to Holland. These people experience western work environment, culture, level of customer service and return to Tanzania to share it with their colleagues.
In Tanzania if you want to do business you need to go into the agricultural market. NMB was successful in micro-financing program helping 100,000 farmers to increase their selling power.
Some challenges NMB faces: shortage of qualified employees, repayment rate and customer service. Customer service in particular is non-existent in Tanzania because of the socialism of the previous regime. It's not in people's minds to think that "the customer is always right."
Image: Ben Christiaanse and Bruce Bachenheimer