MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: First Merchant Bank Acquiring Opportunity International Bank of Malawi to Boost Microfinance Services

First Merchant Bank, a Malawi-based financial institution, recently announced it will pay an undisclosed price to acquire Opportunity International Bank of Malawi (OIBM), a microbank affiliated with US-based NGO Opportunity International. The sellers are Opportunity International and its UK-based and Canadian affiliates.

First Merchant, which operates in Botswana, Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia, reports assets of MWK 327 billion (USD 455 million), a gross loan portfolio of MWK 135 billion (USD 186 million), deposits of MWK 88 billion (USD 122 million) and a 2016 net profit of MWK 7 billion (USD 9.7 million). First Merchant’s primary shareholder is Magni Holdings Limited, which owns a stake of 32.8 percent.

OIBM provides loan and deposit services to 400,000 customers as of 2017. As of 2015, it reported 690,000 customers, total assets of USD 38 million, deposits of USD 24 million and a gross loan portfolio of USD 9 million. Founded in 1971, Opportunity International is a nonprofit organization based in Chicago with administrative offices in Australia, Canada, Germany, Hong Kong, Singapore, Switzerland and the UK. It provides loans, savings, insurance and training to 14.3 million individuals in 24 countries in Africa, Asia, Europe and Latin America. As of 2015, it had a gross loan portfolio of USD 1.4 billion with 95 percent of these loans disbursed to women, total assets of USD 331 million and a yearly decrease in net assets of USD 35 million.

By Sascha Strobl, Research Associate

Sources and Additional Resources:

Opportunity International press release:

Opportunity International home page:

First Merchant Bank of Malawi:

Opportunity International Bank of Malawi on the MIX:

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