KAMPALA — I&M Bank Uganda has signed onto TradeClear, an umbrella platform with 14 other banks, to ease and boost interbank trade within the country.
TradeClear is an interbank trading platform managed by financial services company Frontclear and is regulated by Bank of Uganda and overseen by the Uganda Bankers Association’s Treasurers Forum.
“TradeClear Uganda is expected to dislodge the logjam of market segmentation in the interbank money market. This umbrella guarantee facility will cover the risk of interbank defaults. If a borrowing bank fails to pay the lender in a secured transaction, Frontclear will stand ready to pay back the funds advanced by the lender,” Deputy Governor Michael Atingi-Ego said while officiating at the signing ceremony at Sheraton Kampala Hotel on Wednesday.
“For long, some players in the local interbank money market have been relegated to fishing in shallow waters, while others hauled in the big catches from the deep waters. The existence of counterparty credit limits, which were set at zero in some cases, have constrained the fluid flow of liquidity among banks,” the Deputy Governor said.
Commenting on the developments, I&M Bank Uganda’s Executive Director and Chief Operations Officer Sam Ntulume said banks will offer more competitive pricing and product solutions to their clients.
“Our customers will benefit from more specialised treasury solutions for their investments,” he said.
I&M Group acquired Orient Bank and rebranded it to I&M Bank Uganda, late last year.
According to Ntulume, the acquisition has opened up the bank to regional markets backed by a strong brand with reputable shareholders. Signing onto the Tradeclear platform makes the bank’s operation even more robust.
Charles Katongole from Uganda Bankers Association’s Treasurers Forum noted that banks getting onto Tradeclear had the benefits of improving liquidity and more efficient management of capital.
I&M’s Head of Treasury Denis Damba signed on behalf of the bank.
Atingi-Ego noted that participation in the TradeClear program is voluntary and based on the informed assessment and judgement of the participating financial institutions. However, Frontclear CEO Philip Buyskes is optimistic that more banks will join the platform.
“We have onboarded 15 of the 23 banks in the country and expect others to join,” he said.
Some of the banks that have joined the platform include Standard Chartered Bank, Stanbic Bank, Centenary Bank, Absa, Housing Finance, ABC Capital, Finance Trust Bank, Dfcu and Exim Bank.
The onboarding of the banks is a climax to a Memorandum of Understanding BoU signed with Frontclear in 2019 to boost local money markets in Uganda.
Frontclear is a financial markets development finance company dedicated to stable and inclusive money markets. Its investors are largely European governments and development finance institutions.