February 21, 2019

Central Bank Now Admits Ordering Banks to Collect Private Details on Clients

Trustworthy and indepth news stories are more important now than ever.
Support our newsroom by MAKING A CONTRIBUTION HERE

The confusion over who instructed banks to profile their clients by collecting personal information has finally been cleared, by the National Banks of Rwanda (BNR), whose senior officials had initially denied any involvement.

The Central bank Governor John Rwangombwa said Thursday that he had sanctioned the exercise due to security concerns and purposes of using big data for planning and informed policy-making.

Rwangombwa spoke after presenting the Monetary Policy and Financial Stability Statement at Kigali Convention Center. He said the program is meant to provide as much information to allow “making policies that are based on facts.”

Another delicate motivation of this policy was security – as a result of the recent terror incident in Kenya, where three of the major local banks come from; Equity Bank, Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB) and Commercial Bank of Africa (CBA).

On February 15, The Chronicles broke the story (READ HERE) about the collection of intrusive details on clients which had been launched by Equity Bank. We were told the directive came from the central bank.

However, Edward Karamuzi, the central bank’s director of banking supervision, refuted the information.

He said, “Collecting information is a responsibility of the banks. They may need to know as much information as possible about their clients to help them develop new products. But they have to explain to their clients why they want that information.”

Today, there was change of the narrative and from a different official. Peace M. Uwera, the Executive Director of Financial Stability at Central Bank said indeed the case in Kenya gave a profound reason why banks need to keep detail profiles of their clients.

She said the Kenyan scenario, where evidence emerged later that the terrorist attack had been financed by money from a client whose profile was unclear.

Key suspects withdrew large sums of money which were wire to South Africa and Somalia. In one intriguing case, a suspect got money from
Diamond Trust Bank without an account in the bank.

The commercial banks and the central bank were both reluctant to admit that the gathering of personal details had been a directive from their regulator, even though the move has convincing reasons.

John Rwangombwa presents the Monetary Policy and Financial Stability Statement at the Kigali Convention Center

Prospective and all existing ones are being handed papers titled ‘Customer Updating Information Form’ which they have to fill up.

The existing clients are also being sent SMS to show up to provide more details about themselves. Some clients have received phone calls from bank staff.

Under the previous arrangement, clients gave basic information to open an account including national ID and personal address.

Some of what the new form requires includes the social security number, social economic category or Ubudehe and how much you earn if employed.

The details being asked for are similar to those demanded by the Rwanda National ID issuing agency for you to get an ID.

Some clients are already expressing privacy fears at the unprecedented level of intrusion.

The fear for intrusion, it has emerged, might prompt clients to provide inaccurate information, of which if happens, will cause wrong decision making as opposed to the initial intent.

Central Bank’s Uwera said indeed the risk is obvious, but it is equally an advantage to conduct the exercise whatsoever.

She said some other tools will be employed to verify the information provided or at least analyze the existing information such as one’s income patterns and comparing it to one’s declared social status.

If at all the bank finds that the declared social status does not match with say, the revenue streams on one’s account, the client will be questioned or a basis for raising a red flag will be considered.

The Deputy Governor, Monique Nsanzabaganwa, for her part explained that this is an era of big data, where robust policy formulation requires extensive data.

Thus, she said, this exercise is meant to begin a process which will provide, at a later stage, a centralized data collection system, with the contribution of different institutions.

In not a so far period, the system will have all the data being collected to day and tools to collect more, efficiently.

Privacy concerns are not on the negotiation table.

The clients who spoke to The Chronicles expressed reservations over the program.

“They called me on the phone, asking I answer the questions on the form. I found some of the questions too sensitive. I cannot give out such personal information,” said Gilles Uwimpaye.

“How does the number of people I live with and care for concern them?”

Another Equity Bank client sees no problem with the new details. “Yes, they are asking so much personal information but it is not even necessary to fill it. For some personal information I told them ‘I don’t know’…,” he said.

Hours after The Chronicles released the February 15 story, we received numerous messages via Twitter from people who said they were clients of different banks and had all been asked to fill up the new details.

We can't do quality journalism without your support

Perhaps it goes without saying — but producing quality journalism isn't cheap. At a time when newsroom resources and revenue are declining, The Chronicles remains committed to "Serving Your Right To Know The Truth". Stand with us as we document Rwanda's remarkable journey for you and the future generation. Do you value our journalism? We can't do it without you. Show us with your support by CONTRIBUTING HERE.
Email your news TIPS to info@chronicles.rw or WhatsApp +250788351327.
You can also find us on Signal


  1. Hi there this is somewhat of off topic but I was wanting to know if blogs use WYSIWYG
    editors or if you have to manually code with HTML.

    I’m starting a blog soon but have no coding experience so I
    wanted to get guidance from someone with experience. Any help
    would be enormously appreciated!

  2. They turn casino games into short sweepstakes contests. To comply with state laws, casino apps like LuckyLand Slots and Funzpoints can’t take money directly for gambling. Instead, you buy play-money chips and the casinos then give you free chips to enter the contests. You can enjoy dozens of colorful slots, many with progressive jackpots, in addition to a smaller choice of table games and video poker options. Free spins certainly accomplish their purpose by attracting new players into a casino. When an internet user spots the words, curiosity takes over and the user has no choice but to check it out for themselves. It’s a good deal after all, casinos give away free spins for you to use and above that, any winnings are yours to take home. For years, online slots have represented free spins using scatter symbols. Naturally, the more scatter symbols in a reel, the more free spins you’ll get. These symbols appear on all reels of 5-reel game or in just a few (if this is the case, scatters will appear in the three middle columns or, on the first and fifth column).
    Earning tokens is seriously easy. Scan your App or swipe your Subway® Card at the register every time you go to Subway® restaurants. Or log in to your account before ordering online. You’ll get tokens for every dollar* you spend on food and beverage purchases (after discounts, but before taxes and fees). Foxwoods Resort Casino at Biloxi Pointe will offer gaming, hotel, multiple entertainment venues including approximately 71,000 square feet of meeting and exhibit space as well as a unique selection of six restaurants and bars, all in one location within the historic Biloxi Gulf Coast region with a rich tradition of resort entertainment. Tuesdays in July Our adventures may seem dangerous, but we always play it safe. We have one simple objective that guides us: keeping our guests and our employees safe. We follow CDC guidelines and recommendations, and we encourage our guests to join us in this proactive approach during your visit to Spellbound.

  3. Pretty section of content. I just stumbled upon your web site and in accession capital to assert that I acquire in fact enjoyed account your blog posts.

    Anyway I’ll be subscribing to your augment and even I achievement you access consistently fast.

  4. A person essentially lend a hand to make significantly posts I’d state. This is the very first time I frequented your website page and to this point? I surprised with the analysis you made to create this actual put up amazing. Wonderful task!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *