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:: BAM assures end to Nat Switch challenges (25/01/16)

By Christopher Jimu - The Daily Times

Bankers Association of Malawi (BAM) has assured that challenges bank customers have
been facing when transacting on automated teller machines (ATMs) connected to National Switch (Nat Switch) will be resolved by end February.

Nat Switch connects all comrriercial banks’ ATMs to enable customers transact at any bank of their choice using an ATM card.

However, since its rollout in February, 2015, the project has received mixed reactions
from customers because some ATMs have been showing that disbursements have been done yet in actual fact the transactions were not successful.

This has resulted in most banks to be inundated with complaints from customers
seeking reimbursements.

Speaking in an interview in Lilongwe last week, BAM president Misheck Esau confirmed that commercial banks have been receiving complaints from customers, but said the
hitches will be over end February.

He said: “The Nat Switch is a milestone project because previously, ATMs could not
communicate with each other. We have about 500 ATMs that are now interconnected and
problems were envisaged in the rolling out of a project of this magnitude.

“But now we are coming to the tail end of the problems and by end February all the problems will be sorted out.”

Reserve Bank of Malawi (RBM) spokesperson Mbane Ngwira, in a separate interview
last week, said they are happy that the challenges will resolved soon.

“If BAM is saying that the problems will be over by February then that is true because they are the main players in the whole set up of the Nat Switch. If we were the main players, I could have added more information but suffice to say this is a good development,” he said.

The World Bank has been funding the project under the five-year Financial Sector' Technical Assistance Project (Fstap), but member banks contributed to the project through subscription of equal shares in National Switch Limited.

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