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The African Lakes Corporation (ALC), a trading company, currently known as Mandala, started the first banking operations in Blantyre in August 1894. Other companies, unhappy with ALC handling of banking services approached an independent bank in South Africa to operate in Blantyre. This suggestion was fortunate, as a decision had already been made by Standard Bank to move further north across the Zambezi River. So Standard Bank opened its first branch in Blantyre on 29th April 1901. By 1906 deposits at Standard Bank reached GBP25,000. In 1920 the bank had branches in Limbe, Zomba, and Lilongwe.

National Bank of South Africa was another bank, which was established in Malawi in 1918, which took over the interests of African Lakes Corporation. The National bank of South Africa was, however, taken over by Barclays Bank D.C.O. in 1929.

The Birth of National Bank of Malawi
In 1971 the Standard Bank agreed with Barclays Bank and the Malawi Government to create the National Bank of Malawi through the amalgamation of the two Banks. This took effect 1st July 1971 when Standard and Barclays together held 51.0% of the equity, Press (Holding) Limited held 29.0% and Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (ADMARC) held 20%.

In 1977, the shareholding of both Standard and Barclays was reduced to 20% while Press (Holding) Limited rose to 47.4% and ADMARC to 32.6%. Also by agreement Standard Chartered Bank and Barclays became the service companies of National Bank of Malawi. On 31ST December 1982 Barclays Bank International Limited sold its interest to Standard Bank PLC which came to be known as Standard Chartered Bank Africa PLC with effect from 15th October 1990 and its shareholding rose to 20.0%. In 1993 Press Corporation Limited, sold part of its shareholding to the South African Mutual Life Assurance Society (Old Mutual). Apart from being a shareholder, Standard Chartered Bank Africa PLC continued to be the service company of National Bank of Malawi. Under the service agreement Standard Chartered provided senior management personnel (i.e. Chief Executive, Deputy Chief Executive and Head, Credit Management, and any secondee deemed necessary), advisory, technical and other services. However, the Service Agreement expired on 30th June 1996. Furthermore, as part of its restructuring, and in order to be more focused, Standard Chartered Bank Africa PLC sold its 20.45% shareholding in the bank to the existing shareholders on 31st October 1996 on a pro-rata basis. As a result of the demutualisation of Old Mutual in 1999 its shareholding in the Bank evolved to two local entities that were formed; Old Mutual (Malawi) Limited and Old Mutual Life Assurance Company (M) Limited. National bank of Malawi has about 964 employees. The Bank has 23 service centres within the country. National Bank of Malawi is the leading bank in the country boasting the combined connection, experience and expertise of African Lakes Corporation, Mandala, Standard bank and Barclays Bank, UK. The Bank is fully computerized, having adopted a highly sophisticated computer technology named the Bankmaster/Branchpower System, sourced from Kindle of Dublin, Ireland.

Public Company
National Bank of Malawi was listed on the Malawi Stock of Exchange on 21st August 2000 with a total of 450,000,000 ordinary shares.

The current shareholding structure of National bank, as at 31st January 2008, is as follows:

Press Corporation Limited 51.73%
Old Mutual Group 24.83%
Members of the Public 22.03%
Employees (ESOP) 1.41%


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