About Finance Trust Bank (FTB)
Finance Trust Bank is a tier 1 commercial bank regulated by the Central Bank of Uganda. The Bank’s vision is “to be the bank of choice” while its mission is “to effectively deliver innovative financial solutions to our customers and stakeholders, especially women”.
As part of its growth strategy, FTB intended to setup branches in 15 pre identified locations which include Bulaga, Gulu, Ibanda, Kasese, Kabale, Kyotera, Koboko, Lira, Rukungiri, Ggaba, Kyaliwajjala, Mityana, Mubende, Luwero/Wobulenzi and Hoima.
The motivation for FTB lies in its just completed strategic plan 2020 – 2022 which is to adopt a customer centric strategy to ensure that customer experience is worthwhile.
Finance Trust Bank contracted FRIENDS Consult in 2020 to undertake a Feasibility study to assess the viability of setting up a branch in several locations, in fulfilment of a key regulatory requirement by Bank of Uganda.
The methodology adopted encompassed primary data collection from SME business owners in Urban, peri urban and rural settings, focus group discussions with economically active people in busy training centers and Key Informant Interviews with district local leaders such as production officers, market leadership and commercial officers. The outputs of the surveys were augmented by secondary confirmatory research. In deriving balanced conclusions FCL applied its internal human capital and information resources.
Despite immense improvement in financial inclusion as over the past decade owed to increased digital financial services especially mobile money and development of more customer centric products. This improvement however has been skewed to mainly Urban centers (as documented in the Finscope 2018 Topline findings 2018) yet majority of Uganda’s population lives in rural areas. The high cost of providing financial services in rural areas often means that formal financial institutions lack the incentive to penetrate these areas as well as the ability to mitigate the perceived operational risks. The increase in financial inclusion has also been skewed to the men since leaving out the women who are more likely to be involved in running small businesses in both urban and rural settings. To address this gap, FTB, having began as Uganda’s Women’s Finance and Credit Trust Ltd has progressively over the years provided tailored financial services geared towards improving rural based, low-income SMEs with focus on women financing needs especially for SMEs. The feasibility study therefore focused on extending financial services to the largely excluded rural population with a focus on addressing women constraints to accessing financial services.